Mexico’s president wants to change how the drug war is fought, and he may be heading for a showdown with Trump

5/17/2019 – Business Insider

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lopezobrador.org.mx

By Laura Weiss

Mexico’s drug policies could be in for some sweeping changes, and with them the country’s relations with the United States.

Last week, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that his administration would seek to revise the Merida Initiative, the $3 billion US aid package that has largely funded Mexico’s war on drugs. In a press conference May 9, Lopez Obrador, widely known in Mexico as AMLO, said his administration does not “want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development.”

The announcement came shortly after the Mexican government released a National Development Plan for the next five years that proposes decriminalizing all drugs in Mexico. That plan, approved by Mexico’s Senate, also seeks to eradicate corruption and improve the justice system; guarantee jobs and higher education for children; and invest in infrastructure and health services through regional programs and development goals.

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Trump Can Force Asylum Applicants to Wait in Mexico, for Now

5/8/2019 – Bloomberg

Donald_Trump_(29496131773).jpgBy Kartikay Mehrotra

The Trump administration persuaded a federal appeals court to let border officials continue to force Central American asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their applications for entry to the U.S. are pending.

While Tuesday’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is temporary, a three-judge panel said the Department of Homeland Security will probably prevail in defending the policy that was announced in December and later challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.

A San Francisco judge who blocked the policy in April agreed with the ACLU that waylaying asylum seekers in Mexico for months would put them in peril. But the appeals panel cited “the Mexican government’s commitment to honor its international-law obligations and grant humanitarian status and work permits to individuals returned.”

The panel also said blocking the policy “takes off the table one of the few congressionally authorized measures available to process the approximately 2,000 migrants who are currently arriving at the nation’s southern border on a daily basis.”

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Mexico government slams U.S. border slowdown as ‘very bad idea’

4/11/2019 – Reuters

SRE-MEC-17-OCTUBRE-2018-770x513MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s foreign minister on Wednesday criticized hold-ups in the flow of goods and people at the U.S-Mexico border, and said he planned to discuss the matter with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials later in the day.

After days of traffic delays at sections of the border that have alarmed businesses, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the disruptions were raising costs for supply chains in both countries.

“Slowing down the flow of people and goods at the northern border is a very bad idea,” Ebrard said in a post on Twitter, using unusually frank language on an issue that has caused constant friction between Mexico and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ebrard said his ministry would get in contact on Wednesday with the new leaders of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The department’s former secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who had overseen Trump’s bitterly contested immigration policies during her tenure, stepped down at the weekend.

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Family seeks answers in immigrant’s death after detention

4/11/2019 – The Washington Post

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 (Richard Vog/Associated Press)

By Amy Taxin

LOS ANGELES — A 27-year-old man died in a California hospital after he suffered a brain hemorrhage while detained by U.S. immigration authorities, his wife said Wednesday, demanding to know what caused his injury and whether he received appropriate medical care in custody.

Melissa Castro said she was called Feb. 8 by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official and told that her husband had a “passing out episode” while in the custody of detention officials in Adelanto, California, and had been taken to the hospital.

Castro, who had delivered the couple’s baby five days earlier, said she found Jose Luis Ibarra Bucio in an intensive care unit and in a coma from which he never awoke.

Castro said she wants to know what happened to her husband, who was young and had no prior health problems. She said she heard from doctors that he had been airlifted from another hospital.

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AMLO Tells Fuel Stations to Charge Less or the Government Will

4/10/2019 – Bloomberg

By Amy Stillman

1000x-1.jpgFirst Mexico’s president told oil drillers to produce more. Now he wants fuel stations to charge less.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is calling on fuels, liquid petroleum gas, and natural gas distributors to review their profit margins and pass on more tax savings to consumers in his latest crackdown on the private energy market.

Mexico offers subsidies for fuel aimed at reducing the amount charged to consumers when international prices rise. Distributors absorb about 63 percent of that aid, Mexico’s deputy finance minister Arturo Herrera said at the president’s morning press conference in Mexico City.

If the subsidies don’t keep fuel prices low, “then we would think about creating a group of service stations in the country,” Lopez Obrador said. He didn’t specify whether the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, which leases out its brand to private franchises in Mexico, would own the new filling stations.

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Headlines from Mexico

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1. Mexico’s Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit announced that it is contemplating using resources from a $15.4 billion public income stabilization fund to pay a portion of Pemex’s debt obligations.

El Economista, El Financiero,  La Jornada,

2. The López Obrador administration announced that the consortiums Bechtel-Techint and Worley Parson-Jacobs, as well as the companies Technip and KBR would participate in the tender process to build an Oil Refinery in Dos Bocas, Tabasco, one of the administration’s flagship projects.

Milenio, El Financiero, Proceso

3. President López Obrador and Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Trump, held a closed-door meeting to discuss a development plan that seeks to promote the economic growth of Southern Mexico and Central America. Opposition leaders criticized that the meeting took place in the house of Bernardo Gómez, Vice President of Televisa, Mexico’ largest television network.

La Jornada, Milenio, El Universal,   

4. President López Obrador signed a pledge not to run for re-election at the end of his term in 2024, affirming that one six-year term is enough to “eradicate corruption and impunity.” This occurred after the Chamber of Deputies approved a constitutional amendment that allows for referendum on the President’s performance midway through the six-year term.

Forbes, La Jornada, El Economista,  

5. Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior formally apologized to the families of two university students from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, who were shot to death by soldiers in 2010, and promised to take the necessary measures to avert similar killings in the future.

Excélsior, Milenio, El Heraldo de México

US immigration agents find ways around ‘sanctuary’ policies

3/14/2019 – The Washington Post

By Astrid Galvan

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(Russell Contreras/Associated Press)

PHOENIX — Two years after New Mexico’s largest county barred local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities, its leaders learned that the policy was being subverted from within.

Staff members at the Bernalillo County jail in Albuquerque were still granting immigration authorities access to its database and, in some cases, tipping them off when a person of interest was being released.

“I was surprised and horrified,” said Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Commission. “Individual employees do not have the freedom to pick and choose what they want to observe.”

The disclosure last month cast a spotlight on an often-overlooked way in which immigration officials around the U.S. may be getting around local “sanctuary” policies — through informal relationships with police and others willing to cooperate when they’re not supposed to. Immigration activists say they have seen it places like Philadelphia, Chicago and several communities in California, which has a statewide sanctuary law.

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