SMU Tower Center launches unique research program for policy-based analysis of Texas-Mexico relationship

9/8/2015 Southern Methodist University

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is launching an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.

The program is made possible through a $1 million gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation with global reach headquartered in Dallas.  The program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens. Plans include:

  • Texas-Mexico research, grants, reports, and white papers
  • Binational and bilingual annual conferences
  • Academic seminars and public forums

“Economics, energy, migration, culture, human capital, internet technology and cyber security are obvious topics for study, but the door is open,” said Juan Antonio González Moreno, Chairman and CEO of GRUMA. “We found in this program a tremendous opportunity to build a foundation for what should become the primary think tank on Texas-Mexico relations.” The list of potential topics is open to almost anything that impacts the relationship between Texas and Mexico.

What crisis? Urgency on border gone, says analyst

8/5/15 El Daily Post

Border - MexicoIn the weeks leading up to Thursday’s first debate of the 2016 presidential race, Republican candidates have sought to distinguish themselves from each other – and President Barack Obama – with ever-tougher positions on border security and illegal immigration, claiming current measures are failing.

And yet by many standards, the situation is not nearly as urgent as it was during last summer’s crisis and has improved steadily and markedly in some respects over the past decade or so – partly because of actions taken by the U.S. government, but also because of factors beyond Washington’s control.

Last year’s alarming surge of unaccompanied children and families arriving from Central America via Mexico has been cut by about half,according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a drop-off attributed in part to a crackdown by Mexico and better enforcement along the U.S. border.

Read more…

Computer visa glitch leaves migrant workers stranded at US-Mexico border

06/18/15 The Guardian

Migrant California vineyardA US government computer glitch has left hundreds of migrant farm workers stranded at the Mexican border, as their would-be employers now search for replacements to harvest their summer crops and combat further economic losses on both sides of the border.

Farms across the US rely on the H-2A visa program to hire temporary workers for each harvesting season. But the computer failure has prevented the government from issuing these visas to the predominantly Mexican workforce since last Wednesday.

Read more…

Mexico Now Detains More Central American Migrants than the United States

06/15/15 WOLA

Centroamerica_politicoWashington, D.C.—After a 2014 “surge” of unaccompanied minor migrants from Central America that set off alarms in the United States, the government of Mexico is now detaining more Central Americans than the United States, according to government data analyzed by the research and advocacy organization Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

Read more…

Why It’s So Hard To Get Migrant Kids In Rural Minnesota Through Immigration Court

6/8/15 Think Progress

immigrant mother and boyAbout 438 children who crossed the southern U.S. border alone, fleeing poverty and gang violence from Latin America were placed with sponsors in Minnesota in the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. At least 59 of those children have already been given deportation orders, “usually after skipping their court hearings,” the Star Tribune recently reported. And an undetermined number of additional kids are facing fundamental barriers to making their legal case that are exacerbated in the small rural towns where many migrants live: a lack of transportation to the Bloomington immigration court located three hours away in Minneapolis, a critical shortage of legal representatives, and few court interpreters who speak the appropriate language.

Immigration courts were overloaded last summer as President Obama called on immigration judges to expedite the cases of more than 68,000 Latin American children, most from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The so-called “rocket docket” focused on fast adjudication, a process that advocates criticized as they scrambled to find legal representation for the children nationwide.

Read more…

Mexico rescues more than 100 kidnapped migrants

05/07/05 BBC News 

shutterstock_24590917Police in Mexico have rescued more than 100 migrants kidnapped by a human trafficking gang near the capital. Reports said some of the migrants had been held hostage for five weeks in a house in Mexico State. Most of the victims were Central Americans, but they also included people from India and Sri Lanka. The migrants had been trying to reach the US illegally when they were captured by a gang who demanded cash from their relatives. Five human traffickers were arrested in the town of Axapusco after the raid on Wednesday, said government officials. Nearly 100 agents were involved in the operation to rescue the victims, who included some 14 children. Local media reported that those freed are from Guatemala (33), El Salvador (23), India (23), Honduras (18), and Sri Lanka (five).

Read More…

With help from Mexico, number of child migrants crossing U.S. border falls

Pew Research Center, 4/28/2015

mexican-flag1The Mexican government has deported a record number of Central American children traveling without a guardian since last fall, which President Obama and other U.S. officials say has contributed to a significant drop in children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico’s 3,819 deportations of unaccompanied minors from Central America during the first five months of the fiscal year represent a 56% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Mexican and U.S. government data. The stepped up security was a result of a plan by Mexican officials to address the record surge in child migrants last year.

Read more…