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Mexico: News & Updates

Mexico shares a 2,000-mile border with its neighbor to the north. The US has played a significant role in militarizing the nation in misguided and ineffective policies to stop the flow of drugs and immigrants.  Human rights abuses are prevalent throughout Mexico but especially in the southern, mostly indigenous states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas.  Human rights defenders and indigenous community leaders—working to protect their ancestral lands and heritage—are targeted with threats, assaults, abductions and assassinations. Their struggles for peace and liberation are linked with those of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples throughout the hemisphere. 

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News Article
Scott Warren, a geographer and humanitarian aid worker based in southern Arizona, has been found not guilty on two counts of harboring unauthorized migrants in a case that has gained international attention and called into question the role of humanitarian aid during a time of contentious crackdown on immigration by the federal government. He was arrested on Jan. 17, 2018 by Border Patrol agents who had been surveilling a base used by humanitarian aid groups in Ajo, Arizona, that leave out water and food for migrants who make the deadly, and unauthorized, trek across the Sonoran Desert. The desert has claimed the lives of at least 7,000 migrants who have tried to cross it since the 1990s. Warren first started volunteering six years ago with the group No More Deaths. On the day of his arrest, Border Patrol agents found Warren with two migrants from Central America. Warren said that he gave them shelter, food and first aid. However, the Border Patrol agents claimed Warren was helping the migrants evade custody and prosecutors charged Warren with two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants and one count of conspiracy to harbor and transport. After facing trial in June, a jury failed to reach a verdict and the government sought a retrial that dropped the conspiracy charge. Bijal Shah, an associate professor of law at Arizona State University, says Warren’s case fits into a larger violation of international law by the U.S. government that is implementing policies aimed at keeping refugees and asylum-seekers from entering the country. “Charging Scott Warren in this context is part of a broader framework of governmental interest in dissuading people from supporting non-citizens” she says. “By discouraging people from assisting non-citizens we are discouraging people from maintaining the United States' humanitarian commitments.”
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The Trump administration, which has already closed the Mexican border to most Central Americans seeking U.S. asylum, is planning to go a step further and send most of the would-be migrants to another Central American nation to seek refuge there. Regulations proposed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would authorize immigration judges at the southern border to send asylum-seekers to one of three countries — Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras — as long as it was not their homeland. They could apply for asylum there rather than in the United States. The rules would allow other migrants to remain in the United States if they could convince an immigration judge that they were likely to be persecuted, or tortured, in the Central American country where they were to be sent to apply for asylum. That would be very difficult to prove for a migrant who would have little or no time to gather evidence about conditions in the Central American nation and, in nearly all cases, would not have access to a lawyer, said Richard Caldarone, an attorney with the Tahirih Justice Center, a support group for immigrant women and girls.
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In February of 2018, my family began fostering Julia, a 5-year-old from Honduras. Separated by the Border is the story of Julia and her mother Guadalupe—their trip up to the U.S., their separation, and their reunification eight months later.
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Outgoing Department of Homeland Security head Kevin McAleenan plans to announce during a trip to Central America this week the reinstatement of foreign aid that President Trump previously demanded be withheld, according to government documents obtained by the Washington Examiner. McAleenan, the acting secretary of DHS, is slated to formally announce the United States is reinstating roughly $150 million in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The forthcoming aid is primarily through Defense and State Department programs that support newly signed agreements McAleenan has recently entered with leaders from each of the three countries. The deals focus on addressing surges in recent years in the number of people from countries other than Mexico arriving at the southern border, as well as the underlying causes prompting hundreds of thousands to leave since last October.
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Culture, religion, nationality, language or customs, do not determine a race … Many people worldwide understand it and conduct struggles to state this “truth.” Many others only know how to exclude, thinking that excluding will make them better. Will this be the ultimate battle for a better society? The Costa Rica News brings you a special report about racism in two cultures: North America and Latin America. Racism in the United States has been gaining strength for many years, by Americans of Anglo-Saxon origin (a term that comes from the German population, northern Germany, Holland, Great Britain). It has manifested and continues to be given to minority groups. Previously, Jim Crow laws (state and local laws in the United States, promulgated by white state legislatures) emerged; such laws advocated racial segregation (separation of different groups in daily life, whether in restaurants, bathrooms, schools, hotels, casinos, among others places), and in general, all public facilities, under the slogan “separate but equal." Paul Krugman, the economist and editor of the New York Times, says that the speech of US President Donald Trump is extremely racist and anchored to the past. “In his mind, it is always 1989, and that is not an accident: the way in which the United States changed in the last three decades, both for good and for bad, is incompatible with Trump-style racism,” he states.
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Hundreds of migrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America found themselves corralled in a migrant detention facility in southern Mexico on Sunday after a futile attempt to head north as part of a caravan aiming to reach the United States. Just before dusk, after having trudged more than 20 miles north, they were surrounded by hundreds of National Guard agents and police who persuaded the exhausted migrants to board vans back to Tapachula. Children cried, and women complained angrily about waiting months for papers. It was unclear if any would be deported.
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This story is a follow-up to a December 2018 report by Yahoo News (photojournalist Fabio Bucciarelli and videographer Francesca Tosarelli) of a family’s quest to seek asylum in the U.S. after fleeing violence in Honduras. Mirna Hernandez Mendez didn’t have much of a plan for what she would do once she got to the United States when she decided to make the treacherous journey to the US/Mexico border last fall. She just knew she couldn’t stay in Honduras. Rampant gang violence and corruption had made life in her home state of Colon unlivable for Mirna, a mother of six whose own mom and teenage son were both murdered by members of MS-13 (a gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s and then, along with Central American refugees and immigrants, deported back to Central America by Reagan and subsequent administrations). She tried moving away from La Ceiba, the coastal city where she’d spent her whole life, to a more rural part of the state, but violence and threats only followed.
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The government of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, declared in 2018 a “zero tolerance” policy on the border with Mexico before the growing arrival of undocumented immigrants, most of them from Central America. In July, the United States signed an immigration agreement with Guatemala and subsequently inked agreements with El Salvador and Honduras. US authorities said they also sought an understanding with Panama. Although the three governments reject that they are “safe third country” pacts — which would allow asylum seekers to be sent to another country to wait while their status is being processed — human rights associations claim the agreements do fall under that category.
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Presidential candidate Julián Castro on Monday escorted a group of asylum seekers across the border bridge to his native Texas from Mexico, where they had been sent under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Walking across the bridge with Castro were eight gay and lesbian asylum seekers from Cuba, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as a deaf Salvadoran woman and her three relatives. All had earlier tried to cross here with a lawyer after being returned to Mexico to await court hearings, and all had been sent back by U.S. Customs officers. Some had already waited four months. More than 50,000 asylum seekers have been sent to Mexico to await the outcome of their U.S. immigration court cases since the Migrant Protection Protocols, known as Remain in Mexico, began in January. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials initially said “vulnerable” migrants would be exempted from the program. But scores of LGBTQ, disabled and pregnant asylum seekers have still been returned to Mexico. Late last month, the Department of Homeland Security set up courts in large white tents next to the border bridges to Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo to hear Remain in Mexico cases. The department barred public access and has required migrants to show up before dawn for hearings. Some migrants said they were kidnapped while traveling in the dark to court last month. Others have left Mexico before their court hearings, returning home on free flights and buses south provided by the Mexican government and the United Nations-affiliated International Organization for Migration.

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