US: First Step to End Family Immigration Detention

6/25/15 Human Rights Watch

Army detentions MichoacanThe United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to scale back its use of family immigration detention could help thousands of children and mothers who are fleeing persecution, Human Rights Watch said today. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced on June 24, 2015, that the Obama administration was committed to “substantial changes” to family immigration detention.

The greatest benefit would be for families who are seeking asylum in the US, Human Rights Watch said. Johnson said that “once a family has established eligibility for asylum or other relief under our laws, long-term detention is an inefficient use of our resources and should be discontinued.”

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Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico (Part 2/8)

Day 2 of our on-going article excerpts. Stay tuned for more!

Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico 

by Keith Schneider

A Confrontation in Approaches

Such issues anchor the momentous and era-changing choices that the desert Mexican state of nearly 3 million residents faces. In large measure shale oil and gas drilling is a 20th century construct, a readily recognizable strategy to mass potentially enormous energy resources, intensive industrial infrastructure, and huge sums of financial capital to achieve heightened economic development. In short, drilling a lot of oil and gas wells, and building a transport and processing infrastructure, is a familiar formula for growth.

But is the plan for mammoth oil and gas development potentially reckless? How much of what’s envisioned in Coahuila is really possible in the challenging demographic, resource-scarce, and drying conditions of the 21st century? In other words, Coahuila closely resembles southern Mongolia, northern China, the American West, Australia, and southern Africa, where growing cities, agriculture, and energy development fiercely compete for resources, especially diminishing supplies of fresh water.

Giant sprinkler machines called ‘Pivote Central’ bring water to alfalfa fields in the Valle Hundido near Cuatro Cienegas. The wheels pivot around a center, connected to a well that supplies its water. The level of the aquifer that feeds these fields has dropped so much in the past decade that the surface water on the nearby lake Laguna Churince has completely disappeared. Residents are unsure which companies are behind the large alfalfa fields, but they speculate that they are related to large dairy farms near Torreón that use the alfalfa to feed their livestock. Officials estimate that there are more than 30 of these pivotes in the area.
Giant sprinkler machines called ‘Pivote Central’ bring water to alfalfa fields in the Valle Hundido near Cuatro Cienegas. The wheels pivot around a center, connected to a well that supplies its water. The level of the aquifer that feeds these fields has dropped so much in the past decade that the surface water on the nearby lake Laguna Churince has completely disappeared. Residents are unsure which companies are behind the large alfalfa fields, but they speculate that they are related to large dairy farms near Torreón that use the alfalfa to feed their livestock. Officials estimate that there are more than 30 of these pivotes in the area.

The confrontation is so fraught with ecological urgency and climatic change that decades of entrenched regional economic policy and resource practices are shifting. Australia rewrote its water use statutes and spent billions of dollars to rebuild its irrigation network in the Murray-Darling Basin following a vicious 12-year drought. China shifted its major grain producing region to the wet Northeast and launched the world’s largest solar and wind energy sector to reduce water consumption in the drying Yellow River Basin. In the United States, a four-year drought prompted California to issue the first mandatory water restrictions in its history. The state also is much more closely overseeing water use and wastewater disposal in its oil industry, the nation’s third largest.

For the time being, the mega energy development paradigm prevails in Coahuila. Sometime later this year, or early in 2016, oil and gas companies could provide more insight into what they think is possible in the desert when Mexico opens bidding for oil and gas development rights to foreign companies. The new market is due to a change in Mexico’s Constitution in 2013, and new regulations in 2014, that made foreign investment possible in the country’s oil and gas sector.

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2 Years Later, Immigrants Are Still Waiting on Immigration Reform

6/24/15 Center for American Progress

Via Flikr user 'OccupyReno'
Via Flikr user ‘OccupyReno’

On June 27, 2013, the Senate took a historic and bipartisan step toward an immigration system that works for all. By an overwhelming margin of 68 to 32 votes, the Senate passed S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. That bill took a comprehensive approach to modernizing the U.S. immigration system, providing a tough but fair pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants living in the country, updating the legal visa system for the 21st century, and making the largest and most expensive investments in border security to date. But the House of Representatives refused to consider it—or any other form of immigration reform—and S. 744 died a slow, painful death in the 113th Congress. In the 114th Congress, the only pieces of immigration legislation debated so far have beenenforcement-only bills, a far cry from the holistic solutions offered by S. 744.

So what would the country look like today had S. 744 become the law of the land? Put simply, millions of people would be on their way to permanent legal status and citizenship, thousands of families across the nation would be together, and the U.S. economy would see significant gains.

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As US marijuana legalization spreads, Mexican ‘mota’ takes a dive

02/09/15 CNBC 

9906897843_3bdd271309_zAccording to a new report by The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in California, legal marijuana sales rocketed 74 percent in 2014 to a new high of $2.7 billion. And with more states legalizing weed — Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC, voted to join the legal stoners in November — it predicts this growth pace could continue for several more years straight. However, winners in some places often mean losers in others. And the losers appear to be south of the Rio Grande: Mexican marijuana growers, who’ve provided the lion’s share of cannabis for American smokers for decades.

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Mexico could seek hefty damages against U.S. over meat laws: official

11/05/14 Reuters

meat2Mexico would seek “hundreds of millions” of dollars in trade retaliation against the United States if Washington does not change meat labeling laws, a Mexican official said, as Mexico and Canada kept up pressure on the United States to act. The World Trade Organization ruled last month that the United States had failed to bring its meat labeling regulations fully in line with international fair trading rules after a complaint by its two neighbors. The ruling would be a step toward potential retaliation if packaging laws are not changed.

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Comments to the United States Department of Commerce regarding the U.S.‐Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED)

Duncan Wood

Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood and Associate Christopher Wilson responded to the U.S. Department of Commerce Federal Register Notice published on November 25, 2013, which requested stakeholder input on the U.S.‐Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED)

In their comments, they noted that Mexico and the United States share an economic space and an economic future, and that the HLED is an important and potentially fruitful element in moving that future forward and maximizing the benefits for both countries. They stated that it should be both consolidated through high‐level engagement and institutionalization, and broadened to include a greater dialogue with the private sector and civil society and an expanded focus on border affairs.

Read their testimony here.

The Rise Of Mexican Intellect And The United States: Opponents Or Partners? Op Ed

Expert Take

By Alejandro Chaufen

Forbes, 12/11/2013

In his 2009 book, “The Next 100 Years,” George Friedman, the founder of Stratfor, wrote that by the end of the century Mexico will be the main power challenging the U.S. With $500 billion in trade with the U.S. (up from $75 billion two decades ago), with Mexicans spending twice as much on U.S. products as the Chinese, with over 33 million U.S. residents of Mexican origin, with the most frequently crossed international border in the world, it would be irresponsible to wait until the end of the century to pay attention to Mexico.

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