Without Visas, Carnival Workers Are Trapped at Home in Mexico

7/22/2017 The New York Times

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Francisco Trujillo heads north each summer to do a job that few Americans want: a four-month stint operating carnival rides, mopping up vomit and sleeping in a cramped trailer with other workers.

His annual journey to the United States was a routine shared by many in the shabby city of Tlapacoyan, about 190 miles east of Mexico City in the hills of Veracruz state, which supplies two-thirds or more of the 7,000 foreign workers hired by America’s amusement sector each year.

This year, however, Mr. Trujillo, 32, is not selling tickets for the Super Shot vertical drop or doling out funnel cakes. Caught in a debate over how many visas the United States government should issue to seasonal workers, he is among thousands of Mexicans who are stuck at home, unable to get permission to work across the border.

“They say we are taking jobs from the Americans,” said Mr. Trujillo, who has worked the last four carnival seasons in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Carnival work is “really hard,” he said, adding, “Americans don’t want to do it.”\

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Asylum seekers turned away at U.S.-Mexico border sue U.S. government

7/12/2017 Reuters

child_immigrant_cbp_border_gettyA group of asylum seekers fleeing gang and drug violence in Honduras and Mexico were improperly turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border by border patrol agents, a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government on Wednesday said.

The lawsuit said some U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have referred to the tough immigration policies of President Donald Trump when turning asylum seekers back. But it also said human rights groups have documented “hundreds” of cases dating back to at least the summer of 2016, before Trump’s election win in November.

Filed by a non-profit legal services group called “Al Otro Lado” along with six unidentified people in U.S. District Court in central California, the class action lawsuit said border agents have used “misrepresentations, threats and intimidation,” to tell asylum seekers they cannot enter the country at various border crossings in California, Arizona and Texas.

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More families fleeing Central America resettling in Mexico

07/05/2017 The Associated Press

Centroamerica_politicoMEXICO CITY (AP) — The armed, masked gang members showed up on a motorcycle at the home in northern Honduras last fall with a stark warning for the occupants: Leave town within 24 hours, or else.

Laura Maria Cruz Martinez, another single mother and the nine kids in their care hurriedly threw clothing and personal items into bags and made for the border before dawn, their home abandoned with the furniture and appliances left in place.

Nine months later they’re together again in two adjacent apartments in a working-class neighborhood of eastern Mexico City. It hasn’t always been easy adjusting to this megalopolis of 20 million-plus, with its crowded subway and unfamiliar, slang-heavy Spanish, but at least they’re safe from the gangs rampaging back home.

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Miami summit an opportunity to rethink Central America

6/13/2017 Miami Herald 

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, at center, gathers with Central American leaders during Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America at Florida International University on Thursday, June 15, 2017. At left of VP Pence is U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at right of Pence.
AL DIAZ/ Miami Herald

This week’s Miami summit with the presidents of three of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest and most violent nations may not draw the kind of attention of the recent NATO or G-7 meetings attended by President Trump, but maybe it should.

The direct implications of the Miami meeting for the national security of the United States should not be ignored.

The irregular flow of migrants and the existence of illicit trafficking networks in Central America are symptomatic of the region’s greatest challenges: fragile governments infested with corruption that are unable to protect their own citizens, provide adequate economic opportunities or deliver basic services. Failure to address these challenges in a comprehensive and sustained way poses grave risks to the region, and ultimately the security of the United States.

Dubbed the “Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America,” the June 15 and 16 meeting is the brainchild of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. He, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will co-host the meeting with their Mexican counterparts.

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Trump Will Allow ‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise

6/16/2017 The New York Times

trumpWASHINGTON — President Trump has officially reversed his campaign pledge to deport the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children.

The Department of Homeland Security announced late Thursday night that it would continue the Obama-era program intended to protect those immigrants from deportation and provide them work permits so they can find legal employment.

A fact sheet posted on the department’s website says immigrants enrolled in the 2012 program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “will continue to be eligible” to renew every two years and notes that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

Immigration rights activists, who have fiercely battled Mr. Trump’s travel ban and increased enforcement of other immigration laws, hailed the decision.

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Central American leaders facing U.S. aid cuts pledge to do more

6/15/2017 Reuters

tillerson-public-domainFacing deep cuts to foreign aid by the Trump administration, Central American leaders pledged on Thursday to take more responsibility to battle organized crime and curb illegal immigration from the region.

Washington is pushing the violent countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, known as the Northern Triangle, to enact economic reforms to lift private investment and stem the flow of migrants at a meeting of Latin American leaders in Miami.

The Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America began with the Inter-American Development Bank announcing $2.5 billion in funding for infrastructure projects in the nations which make up the bulk of migrants crossing the U.S. border.

Trump’s administration hopes tax and regulatory changes in the region will boost growth and encourage companies to invest, filling the gap left by less aid to the region. He sent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to oversee talks in Miami.

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Exclusive: U.S., Mexico, Slim charity to work on Central America crime, migration

6/14/2017 Reuters

CarlosSlimThe United States, Mexico and three Central American nations will this week unveil plans to work with billionaire Carlos Slim’s charity to tackle crime in Central America and find new ways of slowing migration, according to a draft document.

Top U.S., Mexican and Central American officials meet in Miami on Thursday and Friday to discuss how to cut migration and improve conditions in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a cluster of poor, violent countries known as the Northern Triangle that most U.S.-bound migrants set out from.

The document, seen in Mexico, contains an agenda for the two-day meeting in Miami and lists several specific objectives it refers to as “deliverables.” It is a draft document, and could be subject to change.

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