Seeking to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship.
A mistrial was declared Monday in the case of a U.S. Border Patrol agent after an Arizona jury acquitted him of a second-degree murder charge in the killing of a teen from Mexico but deadlocked on lesser counts of manslaughter.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Raner Collins means prosecutors could seek another trial for Agent Lonnie Swartz on the manslaughter charges in the 2012 death of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was fatally shot as he threw rocks at authorities during a drug smuggling attempt. Prosecutors say they were evaluating whether to pursue a retrial.
A Supreme Court ruling on immigration this week is igniting a new political battle over federal officials’ power to deport foreigners who have been convicted of certain crimes.
The White House and the nation’s top immigration official said the 5-to-4 ruling will make it harder for the Trump administration to deport people convicted of some sexual offenses and kidnapping crimes, as well as burglary in some states, among other offenses.
“It is yet another example of the need for Congress to urgently close the loopholes that allow criminal aliens to avoid removal and remain in the United States,” Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement.
Over the course of several recent weeks, Getty Images photographer John Moore visited the Imperial Sand Dunes of southern California, Big Bend National Park in West Texas and the Boca Chica State Park, where the Rio Grande flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Moore wasn’t on holiday, but on assignment documenting the full length of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Stretching over 1,989 miles, the border is monitored by a wide array of federal agencies. There’s the Office of Field Operations, which regulated ports of entries and border crossings. There’s the Air and Marine Operations, which fly over border areas. There are 20,000 personnel that make up the Border Patrol. And there’s also the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, whose role is to deport undocumented immigrants. As Americans get ready to vote in November, Moore was motivated to capture those many moving pieces.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and law enforcement authorities in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico arrested 36 alleged human smugglers Friday during a large-scale multinational operation called “Operation Lucero.”
The operation targeted transnational criminal organizations suspected of illegally smuggling hundreds of individuals each week – including children and families – throughout Central America and Mexico into the United States. The operation resulted in 17 arrests in El Salvador, seven in Guatemala and 12 in Mexico,” DHS announced.
In addition to the arrests, 39 undocumented migrants were rescued, including 10 unaccompanied minors, 14 accompanied minors and 15 adults. Law enforcement authorities seized 22 properties – 20 in Guatemala and two in Mexico – valued in excess of $2 million in US currency. Four bank accounts containing the equivalent of $142,000, and bulk cash valued at $46,000 was seized, as well as 22 vehicles, six weapons, three smuggling boats, 11 boat engines, ammunition, bank cards, communication devices and an abundance of documents corroborating human smuggling.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) recently released statistics showing that deportations in fiscal year 2013 hit an all-time low since Obama took office in 2009, but the drop is apparently not yet a harbinger of a policy shift. Removals fell slightly from a record high of 410,000 in 2012 to just under 370,000. News of the first decline during Obama’s tenure comes as he has been under growing pressure from immigration advocates and some members of Congress to use his executive powers to bring removals to a halt. But the slight decline can be attributed to several factors:
The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.
What the English-language press had to say…
This week, Elba Esther Gordillo, the powerful leader of the SNTE, Mexico’s teachers’ union was arrested for allegedly embezzling over $150 million in union funds to support her lavish lifestyle. The arrest shocked the nation and came only a day after President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law a new education reform package. Many interpreted the move as an attempt by the Peña Nieto administration to reassert state authority over special interests, and as a warning to other industries (e.g. telecommunications and energy) that reform is on the way. NYT columnist Thomas Friedman gave much to talk about following two very optimistic pieces. He suggested Mexico will become a dominant economic power in the 21st century, and praised Mexico’s young ‘just do it’ generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya mirrored Mr. Friedman’s optimism by suggesting a reinvigorated energy sector will transform Mexico into the world’s “new Middle East.” Meanwhile, north of the border, looming automatic budget cuts prompted ICE to release several hundred low-risk immigrants from deportation centers across the country.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released “several hundred” immigrants from deportation centers across the country, saying the move is an effort to cut costs ahead of budget cuts due to hit later this week. Announcing the news Tuesday, ICE officials said that the immigrants were released under supervision and continue to face deportation. After reviewing hundreds of cases, those released were considered low-risk and “noncriminal,” officials said.
The releases took place over the last week and were an effort “to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christiansen, citing uncertainty caused by a budget standoff in Washington. “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety,” she said.