Mexico’s earthquakes complicate life for Central American migrants fleeing violence

10/30/2017 PRI

On a sultry summer morning, Central American migrants huddled together in the courtyard of the Hermanos en el Camino migrant shelter in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, discussing the complexities of checkers.

Joel Álvarez, 27, moved one of the plastic bottle caps that served as checkers pieces over a piece of plywood lacquered with blue and red squares, painted with nail polish. When Álvarez successfully got a piece into his opponent’s side of the board he flipped the bottle cap over, crowning it king. He calls checkers an “obligatory pastime.”

The checkers games at this migrant shelter are a fun distraction from long, boring days where the temperature often climbs up to 100 degrees. Most migrants standing here fled violent gangs in Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala. Álvarez had two older brothers who were recruited to work for rival gangs. They urged their younger brother not to take the same path; both were dead by age 24.

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New Publication | A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico

By Andrew Selee

migration-policy-coverToday, the number of Mexicans crossing the border illegally has dropped to a 40-year low, and there are almost certainly more Mexican immigrants leaving the United States than arriving. A majority of the immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are now Central Americans, and the U.S. and Mexican governments have been working closely to find ways to limit this flow and keep people from making the dangerous journey north. Perhaps most surprisingly, the number of Americans in Mexico has been growing rapidly, reaching somewhere around a million people, almost as large a group of U.S. citizens as live in all of the countries of the European Union combined.

The United States and Mexico each have interests in protecting their sovereignty and enforcing their immigration laws, but they will also need to work together to address Central American immigration, ensure robust growth in Mexico that keeps migration from starting up again, and protecting their own citizens living in the other country.

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico,” was written by Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute. In this policy brief, Selee reviews existing cooperation between the United States and Mexico on migration and provides policy recommendations for a more nuanced and balanced migration agenda.

This policy brief is the third of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.

Read the policy brief…

Mexico finds dehydrated migrants in US-bound lorry

10/21/16 BBC News

immigrationThe Mexican authorities say they have stopped a lorry carrying 121 Central American migrants, who were trying to reach the US illegally.

They were found after police at a checkpoint in the southern state of Tabasco heard calls for help coming from the vehicle and the sound of crying children.

Many of the migrants, who included 55 minors, were badly dehydrated.

Most had come from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador or Ecuador.

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CentAm Migrants Suffer Brunt of Mexico Crackdown: Report

09/26/16 InSight Crime

immigrationMexico’s crackdown against Central American migrants has increased human rights violations and crimes against the migrants, according to a new report, suggesting it is the vulnerable rather than the human smugglers that are suffering as a result of the new security measures.

The report A Trail of Impunity, compiled by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Mexican non-governmental organizations Fundar: Centro de Análisis e Investigación and Casa del Migrante, traces the impact of Mexico’s Southern Border Program, which was launched in 2014 to stem the flow of Central American migrants seeking to pass through Mexico to enter the United States.

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Mexico’s other border

09/23/16 Financial Times

fence at borderThe UN estimates 400,000 Central Americans cross illegally into Mexico each year and as many as half of those are fleeing violence. As pressure builds for measures to stem the flow of migrants, the FT’s Jude Webber tells one woman’s story. Visit FT.com for more on the story.

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Struggles, Not Protection, Greet Central American Refugees in Mexico

19/09/16 The Wire 

immigrationOn September 19 and 20, world leaders will convene at the UN General Assembly for the first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migration. Although focusing primarily on the refugee crisis in Syria, the summit provides an opportunity to reflect on a humanitarian crisis that persists in southern Mexico.

In the summer of 2014, 70,000 Central American children arrived at the US-Mexico border, seeking refuge from the life-threatening conditions they faced in their home countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

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Mexico builds its own wall against migrants

09/14/16 Financial Times

migrantsDonald Trump wants a wall on America’s southern border to keep illegal immigrants out. But for people such as Rosa, whose husband, mother, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews were murdered in her native Honduras by gangs who then tried to recruit her 14-year-old son, Mexico already acts as a formidable barrier.

Rosa, who asked for her full name not to be used, fled with her two teenage sons only to find herself trapped in a political controversy that the US Republican candidate has put at the heart of his campaign.

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