Facing the Facts on Illegal Immigration

7/19/15 New York Times

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006Donald Trump is entitled to his own opinions, not his own facts, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Mr. Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, gets a lot wrong in his comments about immigration and Mexico. There is no evidence that Mexican officials are dispatching criminals across a porous border, and immigrants don’t commit more crimes, studies show.

Yet even some of his critics give him credit for tapping into something real: what they see as the perils of President Obama’s lax approach to immigration, generally, and enforcement along the Mexican border in particular.

“We need to secure the border,” says Carly Fiorina, another presidential contender. This, too, is misleading.

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NEW PUBLICATION: Reflections on Mexico’s Southern Border

By Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Eric L. Olson, Brenda Elisa Valdés Corona, and Ernesto Rodríguez Chávez

April 1, 2015

Puente Dr. Rodolfo Robles Ciudad Hidalgo Chiapas - Tecún Umán Guatemala  DSC_0914 Ernesto (2)In early March, 2015, a small group of researchers from the Washington-based Wilson Center and from Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas traveled to the southwestern section of the Mexico-Guatemala border to observe developments in migration, various types of illicit trafficking, trade, and border management. While there, we met with a wide range of government and non-governmental actors. We crossed the border and visited the official and irregular installations at Ciudad Hidalgo-Tecún Umán and Talisman-El Carmen. We met with officials from Mexico’s SRE (Foreign Ministry), SEMAR (Navy/Marines), the Interior Ministry’s Coordinación para la Atención Integral de la Migración en la Frontera Sur, and INM (National Immigration Institute); including a visit to the migrant holding center Estación Migratoria Siglo XXI in Tapachula. We were able to dialogue with a range of Chiapas state officials in charge of law enforcement and economic development in the border region. We visited two migrant shelters run by Scalabrini priests, one on each side of the border, and held meetings with NGO representatives and academics working on issues of human rights protection in relation to migrants, migrant workers, sex workers and victims of human trafficking. Finally, we met with Guatemala’s interagency border security task force, Fuerza de Tarea Interinstitucional Tecun Uman, including personnel from several Guatemalan government agencies.

In this brief publication, each of the five researchers participating in the visit presents a short reflection based on several of these encounters.

Click here to read the publication. 

We Don’t Know How Secure Our Border Is

1/27/2015 National Journal

Border - MexicoRep. Michael McCaul’s Secure Our Borders First Act will be voted on in the House next week, and it requires the Homeland Security Department to construct 400 miles of new roads and more than 100 miles of new border fences. It deploys new technology such as a biometric exit system at ports of entry and directs more air power to track migrants. It also requires DHS to disclose more data on how safe the border is.

But as the House risks putting divisions within its own ranks on display and goes head-to-head with the Obama administration, it’s worth asking: How secure are the 2,000 miles that stretch from California to Texas today to begin with?

There’s only one problem — nobody can tell you.

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Mexico’s Southern Border Strategy: Programa Frontera Sur

07/11/14 Christopher Wilson, Pedro Valenzuela

chiapasThe most common adjective used to describe Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala and Belize is probably ‘porous.’ The large volume of Central American migrants, including many families and unaccompanied minors, crossing the border on their way north to the United States suggests as much. The simultaneous operation of criminal groups involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, migrant smuggling and other sinister pursuits in the region adds several layers to the challenge.

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DHS revises rules for use of deadly force on border

06/04/14, Homeland Security News Wire

U.S. Border PatrolmenOn 30 May DHS released new guidelines detailing when the use of force by Border Patrol officials is authorized. The lack of explicit scenarios within the rules, however, has led to questions of when such acts are truly warranted.

On 30 May DHS released new guidelines detailing when the use of force by Border Patrol officials is authorized. The lack of explicit scenarios within the rules, however, has led to questions of when such acts are truly warranted.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, these new revisions arrive amidst increasing criticism of unreasonable use of force and a much publicized, leaked damning internal report — both within the past six months. This documentation reveals some glaring abuses, including the fact “that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them.”

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Spotlight Of Mexican Drug War Focuses On State Along U.S.-Mexico Border

drug warFox News Latino, 4/30/14

Once again, the bodies are piling up in this violent U.S.-Mexican border state.

At least 14 people died Tuesday in several firefights between federal forces and gunmen in the city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. The dead included 10 alleged gunmen, two federal police officers and two bystanders, Tamaulipas state authorities said.

Gunmen blocked some of the industrial city’s main avenues with buses in the afternoon and then ambushed federal police officers on patrol, officials said.

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Mexico: Homicides Decline Near Border, Report Says

m16 gun closeupNY Times, 4/14/14

Murders in Mexico declined in 2013, and they decreased significantly in several cities near the border with the United States, according to a new report from the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to be released Tuesday. Using preliminary police data, researchers identified a homicide decrease of about 16 percent, with some of the biggest drops in murders in Ciudad Juárez and Monterrey, notoriously dangerous cities that have recently calmed down as the war between criminal gangs and the government has declined in intensity. Still, experts warn, it is not clear whether the decline is attributable to an overall weakening of organized crime: The number of gun-related murders has held steady as other kinds of killing have declined, and homicides have sharply risen in states farther south.

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