On the Mexico border, a surge of migrants ahead of a possible ‘Trump Wall’

5/25/2016 The Washington Post  To save time, Adriana Zavala would take a shortcut down an empty lane on the way to school, until the afternoon last September when the tattooed Salvadoran gangsters blocked her way.

The threats she began receiving that day — sell our drugs to your classmates or we’ll rape you — propelled the teenager, her father and 13-year-old sister to begin a five-month odyssey from El Salvador that has ended, for now, in this Texas town. They are among thousands of migrants arriving at the U.S. border in what authorities fear could be another surge of Central American families.

“In my country, they’re going to kill me. And I can’t die right now. There are so many things I want to do,” said Zavala, a 17-year-old who wants to be a chef and take singing classes.

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UPCOMING EVENT | What Do Mexicans Think About the U.S. and the World? Results from Mexico, the Americas, and the World 2014-2015

globe north south americaWHEN: Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 3:00-5:00pm

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to our event “What Do Mexicans Think About the U.S. and the World? Results from Mexico, the Americas, and the World 2014-2015.” Mexico, the Americas, and the World is a public opinion research project undertaken by the Division of International Studies at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. The survey, carried out biannually in Mexico since 2004 (and elsewhere in Latin American since 2008), seeks to understand Mexicans’ and Latin Americans’ views on foreign policy and international relations—in a word, on their place in the world. The 2014-2015 edition finds that, among other things, fewer Mexicans report having family members that live abroad and receiving remittances. Despite the rise of anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S., Mexicans’ evaluations of “Colossus to the North” have continued to rise since 2010—apparently an “Obama effect.” Finally, faced with a grave human rights crisis, Mexicans are willing to accept supervision on rights from the UN, OAS, and even—to some extent—from the United States. Two researchers from CIDE will present and discuss the report’s findings.

Speakers
Gerardo Maldonado
Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE)

David Crow
Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE)

Moderator
Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP

The immigrants still ‘California Dreamin’

5/18/16 BBC

CaliforniaA group of drunken men are loitering on the pavement outside Claudia’s block of flats in San Francisco. In the run-down lobby, visitors are greeted by a broken fridge.

The studio flat Claudia shares with her two young daughters though is tidy and homely.

Claudia fled from a violent partner and became homeless. She has been rehoused by a San Francisco charity but her problems are far from over.

‘Fearful for my children’

Claudia does not want to give me her full name because she is one of the more than 11 million undocumented migrants living in the US, and she is worried by the political rhetoric in the presidential race.

“What Donald Trump said shocked me very much because I’m Mexican,” she says.

“I’m fearful that my children would have to fend for themselves because he would want to deport me.”

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Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan: Big Promises, Bigger Doubts

5/19/16 New York Times

Donald_Trump)Big promises are to be expected from presidential candidates, but reality often intrudes. The elder George Bush broke the “no new taxes” pledge that helped lead to his election. And Barack Obama’s administration has yet to live up to his prediction that his nomination would go down in history as the moment “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Donald J. Trump’s vow to restore what he says is America’s lost luster, while perhaps not as flowery, comes with campaign promises that are equally grandiose. But Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has typically provided scant details on how he might make good on his promises — and ambitious ideas, even the concrete kind, do not always add up.

Central to Mr. Trump’s campaign, and to his national security strategy, is his intent to clamp down on illegal immigration, using a vast deportation “force” to relocate people to the other side of a wall, funded by Mexico, that would stretch nearly the length of the southern border.

Mr. Trump has suggested he will flesh out his ideas in a forthcoming speech. But experts across many fields who have analyzed his plans so far warn that they would come at astronomical costs — whoever paid — and would in many ways defy the logic of science, engineering and law.

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ACLU alleges ‘unchecked abuse’ at U.S.-Mexico border

5/17/16 CNN

fence at border(CNN)A complaint filed Tuesday accuses U.S. officers of “unchecked abuse” at the border.

Several Mexican women claim they were arbitrarily detained and strip-searched, and never told why they’d been singled out. A U.S. citizen alleges that an officer yanked his 11-year-old son’s arm, causing a hairline fracture. A legal permanent resident of the United States says an officer screamed at her and falsely accused her of being a fugitive.
Those allegations are among 13 cases documented in a complaint the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Border Communities Coalition has filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The administrative complaint, lodged Tuesday, accuses officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of “systemic abuse” and rights violations at several entry points between Mexico and the United States.
“It really mocks our American values of justice and fairness,” said Cynthia Pompa, a field organizer at the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights. “And it shows that this agency really lacks oversight and accountability.”
DHS did not comment on the ACLU allegations.
Allegations in the complaint include:
• A 51-year-old Mexican woman says officers falsely accused her of being a prostitute and forced her to sign a false confession. She signed it because she didn’t understand English very well, according to the complaint. The confession, the complaint alleges, had her barred from entering the United States for five years.

Remittances Supersede Oil As Mexico’s Main Source Of Foreign Income

5/17/16 Forbes

StrawberryPickersNearPonchatoulaFSARemittances, the earnings that Mexican workers in the U.S. send home, quietly replaced oil revenues as Mexico’s number one source of foreign income last year. In late 2014, oil was still Mexico’s main source of foreign exchange, but due to a dramatic fall in oil production following a lack of investment and a plunge in international oil prices, this is no longer the case.

“Remittances surpassed crude oil revenues for the first time in history in December of 2014. Since then, remittances have continued to increase even to the point of representing more than twice the value of crude oil exports since December of 2015,” José Alfredo Coutiño, Moody’s Director for Latin America, told me.

In 2016, first quarter remittances of $6.2 billion were 56.7% higher than the $2.6 billion earned from oil exports for the same period. The remittances for the quarter represents an 8.6% jump over the funds sent in the same period in 2015, according to Mexico’s Central Bank data.

Last year, Mexican remittances were $24.8 billion, while oil exports were $18.7 billion. With remittances growing and oil revenues decreasing, the pattern is likely to continue.

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Mexico warns of repercussions if remittances from US are blocked

5/12/2016 LA Times

aportelaIf a new U.S. administration blocks the flow of remittances — the estimated $20 billion that Mexicans working in the U.S. send home each year — then joint efforts to stop money laundering and other illicit forms of finance will be dealt a dangerous setback, a senior Mexican official warned Thursday.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has vowed, if elected, to make Mexico pay to build a wall along the entire Southwest border, even if it means impounding remittance payments.

Fernando Aportela, Mexico’s deputy secretary for finance, said any attempt to seize remittances would force Mexicans to hide and smuggle their money, sending them into the shadows of illegality just as Mexican and U.S. officials are working to make money flows more transparent.

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