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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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In IRTF’s June 2024 newsletter on Migrant Justice, please read about (1)  President Biden Announces New Actions to Secure the Border; Critics point to its illegality, (2)  ICE Air: Update on Removal Flight Trends, (3) Child Migration in Darien Gap, (4) At the Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border, (5) Mind the Darién Gap, Migration Bottleneck of the Americas, (6)  Immigration Court: unjust denials call for structural realignment, not further restrictions, and (7) Immigration is the demographic savior too many refuse to acknowledge.

Then take a few minutes to read what you can do to take action this week in solidarity with migrants and their families. (See details at the bottom of the newsletter.)

A) Support LGBTQ+ Migrants

B) Oppose Border Closures

C) Support Migrants in Detention

D) Root Causes: Cut US Militarism in Latin America

Read the full IRTF Migrant Justice Newsletter each month at

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President Biden issued an executive order on June 4, 2024, to restrict asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border during surges in crossings, reflecting a major shift in immigration policy. This move is Biden's most restrictive border policy to date and echoes a 2018 effort by Trump that was blocked by the courts. Biden's order was prompted by congressional Republicans blocking bipartisan legislation on border security.

The policy kicks in when daily illegal crossings average 2,500 and suspends the right to seek asylum on U.S. soil, with exceptions for unaccompanied minors, human trafficking victims, and those using a specific app for asylum requests. The American Civil Liberties Union plans to challenge the order in court, arguing it is illegal, as it was under Trump.

This shift underscores the political pressures Biden faces regarding immigration, particularly as he prepares for the upcoming presidential election. The executive order aims to reduce illegal crossings and backlog in the asylum system but has drawn criticism from immigration advocates and some Democrats for undermining asylum protections.

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News articles in this month’s Migrant Justice Update:

(1) See Us. Here Us. #ReuniteUS. (2) ICE Air: Update on Removal Flight Trends. (3) Migration Declining. (4)  At the Border: Recent Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border. (5) Guatemalan Youth Defy Tragedy, Continue Trek to US Despite Familial Losses.  (6) Kidnapping of Migrants and Asylum Seekers at the Texas-Tamaulipas Border Reaches Intolerable Levels.  (7) President-elect of Panama pledges to close the Darién Gap.  (8) Trans & Nonbinary Migrants File Complaint Over Treatment at ICE Detention Facility in Colorado


(A) Migrant Families in Cleveland Need Household Items. (B) Root Causes: Cut US Militarism in Latin America. (C) Root Causes: Stop Deportation Flights to Haiti. (D) Root Causes: Redesignate TPS for Nicaraguans. (E) Support Migrants in Detention.


Immigration enforcement continues to be top of mind for many in the US electorate. We’re likely to see the two presidential candidates duke it out on who pledges to be tougher on immigration.

With changes in presidential administrations in two of the countries that the US sees as crucial partners in stemming migration (Panama and Mexico), it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold over the next several months leading up to the US elections on November 5.

In Panama, conservative José Raúl Mulino was elected on May 5 and will be sworn in on July 1. He has  pledged to close down the treacherous Darién Gap, through which more than a half a million migrants crossed last year. “The border of the United States, instead of being in Texas, moved to Panama.” He also pledged to “repatriate all these people.”

In Mexico, a new president will be elected on June 2 and inaugurated on October 1. The Biden Administration has worked closely with the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to stem the steady streams of immigration into Mexico headed toward the US southern border.  Mexico has been cracking down on migrants at the Guatemala border and within its borders.  Mexico’s migration enforcement set a record in November 2023 with 97,969 apprehensions, only to break that record in January 2024 (120,005 apprehensions) followed by a short dip in February (119,943). And the Mexican government is busing migrants away from its northern border and sending them to destinations deep in the country’s interior or back to the southern border.  The large numbers of people currently bottled up throughout Mexico is causing harm to migrants and is unsustainable.

The next administration in the US will face political challenges with respect to border enforcement. Thousands of migrants currently in Mexico will likely try to head north again—not to mention the thousands yet to depart their home countries. Migrant justice advocates in the US continue to stress the urgent need for an increase in funding for the asylum process and efficient adjudication of those cases. The system dedicates fewer than 725 judges to a backlog of 3 million cases. The US government needs to invest in an immigration and asylum system that is faster, fairer, more humane, and sustainable.

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To read the full article: Migrant Justice Newsletter - April 2024 | InterReligious Task Force on Central America (

Welcome to IRTF’s March 2024 newsletter on Migrant Justice and the current situation at the US-Mexico border. After you’ve looked through the articles, we hope you can take a few minutes to see the TAKE ACTION items at the bottom. In this newsletter, please read about : 1.  Changing Trends in Migrants at US-Mexico Border. 2. ICE Air: Update on Removal Flight Trends . 3. Study Reveals: Border Wall Height Exacerbates Trauma Incidents . 4. At the Border: Recent . Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border . 5. Border Patrol and Local Law Enforcement’s Patterns of Abuse in Ohio’s Immigration Enforcement. 6. Raising the Credible Fear Screening Standard Will Endanger Lives but Won’t Fix The Border . 7. Children in US-Mexico Border Camps. 8. Migrants Mired in Transit as Mexico Becomes US’s Immigration Enforcer. 9. Kidnapping of Migrants and Asylum Seekers at Texas-Tamaulipas Border Reaches Intolerable Levels . 10.  Migrant Deaths in New Mexico and Western Texas . 11. Human Rights in the Darién Gap of Panamá.

 TAKE ACTION NOW. Here is what you can do to take action this week in solidarity with migrants and their families. (See details at the bottom of this newsletter.) A) SPEAK UP FOR DEMOCRACY IN EL SALVADOR. B)  SPEAK UP FOR PEOPLE IN HAITI. C) STOP DEPORTATIONS TO HAITI . D) PROTECT UNACCOMPANIED MINORS. E) VISIT CAPITOL HILL: #ReuniteUS. F) HELP REFUGEES & MIGRANTS IN CLEVELAND. 


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Over the last 12 months, there have been 1,482 ICE removal flights, mostly to Latin America and the Caribbean. Notably, there is a focus on removal flights to countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, raising concerns about the impact on individuals' rights and well-being. Three-quarters of removal flights are to those three countries. 

The lack of access to asylum at ports of entry has led to distressing situations for asylum seekers. US lawmakers are considering stricter restrictions on asylum, jeopardizing the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals. The need for improving access to asylum and addressing the challenges faced by asylum seekers, especially women and children, is crucial. 

Read the full IRTF Migrant Justice Newsletter each month at .


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The implications of the Monroe Doctrine in Mexico, Central America, and Honduras, highlighting the failures of US policies like the Merida Initiative and drug war strategies. It emphasizes the devastating impact on these regions, resulting in violence, human rights abuses, and corruption. The focus is on adopting new paradigms, shifting away from punitive drug policies to prioritize human well-being, domestically and internationally. It also sheds light on the US influence in Honduras, pointing out interventions, support for corrupt regimes, and obstructing reforms. Furthermore, it addresses immigration, stressing the need for a humane approach rather than militarization. Recommendations include investigating DEA activities, reforming drug policies, anti-militarism measures, non-interference in Honduran affairs, and prioritizing human rights in immigration reforms.

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Border security continues to be a hot button issue in Congress. And some congressional leaders are holding hostage other non-border issues because of their tough stance on immigration and desire to gut US asylum law. 

In last month’s newsletter, we shared an article about a one-page document that three Republican senators submitted to President Biden on November 6, summarizing the border and migration proposals they demand to include in the supplemental budget request that the president is submitting for the war in Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and the US-Mexico border. The draconian measures include: ban asylum access for people who did not cross the border at ports of entry; ban asylum access for people who pass through other countries without seeking asylum there; heighten eligibility standards to pass a credible fear interview; expand migrant detention (including families and children); restrict temporary humanitarian parole.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) responded in a combined letter on December 14, denouncing that: “Republicans continue to hold funding for America’s allies hostage at the expense of migrants and to pass Trump-era border policies.”

Articles in this monthly newsletter: 1) ICE Air: update on removal flight trends. 2) How US Policy Toward Latin America Has Fueled Historic Numbers of Asylum Seekers. 3) WOLA Urges Congress to Protect Asylum and Update Obsolete Border Policies. 4) At the Border: Recent Incidents. 5) Governor Abbott Signs Law to Arrest Anyone in Texas without Immigration Papers.

See the Take Action items listed at the bottom of this newsletter. Our advocacy is needed to maintain some modicum of humanity in the nation’s immigration system and to address root causes of migration.  1) Stop Border Militarization. 2) Take Action Now Against Extreme Asylum Restrictions.  3) Help Migrants and Refugees in Cleveland. 

Read the full IRTF Migrant Justice Newsletter each month at .

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In this monthly newsletter, we include the fiscal year-end numbers from Customs and Border Patrol. CBP reports 2,475,669 “encounters” of migrants at the US-Mexico border from OCT 2022-SEP 2023. That’s up about 100,000 from last fiscal year. 

Let’s be clear. There is no “border crisis.” But there is a humanitarian crisis at the border.

The numbers don’t justify any increased funding for CBP. Federal agents are not having to chase down tens of thousands of migrants along the river bank or into the desert along the 2,000 mile border. A large portion of the “encountered” migrants (roughly 30,000 per month) have actually turned themselves in voluntarily at ports-of-entry to request political asylum. Presenting themselves at ports of entry (i.e., the “legal” way to cross) are these nationalities in this order: Haiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru.

But the waiting time to schedule an appointment at the border crossing (via the CBP One app) and then waiting for the actual appointment—this is causing tens of thousands of migrants to seek humanitarian assistance on the Mexico side of the border as they sit it out and wait.

As burdensome as the asylum process is, a group of US senators is trying to make it worse. They are threatening to stall any supplemental budget request that Biden is submitting for the war in Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and the US-Mexico border. They say that won’t approve any Biden request unless it contains new border restrictions, including: more detention, family and child detention, restrictions on humanitarian parole, and banning the right to asylum for migrants who do not present themselves at ports-of-entry (note: this is clearly an illegal provision that violates both domestic and international asylum law.). 

See the Take Action items listed at the bottom of this newsletter. Our advocacy is needed to maintain some modicum of humanity in the nation’s immigration system and to address root causes of migration. 



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Jesús Ociel Baena, Mexico's first openly non-binary magistrate and LGBTQ+ activist, was found dead at home in Aguascalientes. Authorities are investigating the cause of death, with preliminary findings suggesting it could be a "personal matter." Baena, known for advocacy and visibility on social media, had received hate messages and death threats related to their gender identity. Activists urge a thorough investigation, expressing concern that the death may lead to further violence against queer communities. Baena's contributions to LGBTQ+ rights were recognized in a certificate from the electoral court just before their death. LGBTQ+ activists plan vigils and demonstrations in honor of Baena. Former chief justice Arturo Zaldívar mourns the loss of a strong advocate for equality and LGBTI+ rights.

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Welcome to the vibrant celebration of human rights at the IRTF's 43rd Annual Commemoration Program, Fiesta De Derechos Humanos! As we gather to honor and reflect on the enduring pursuit of justice, this program book serves as a testament to the diverse voices advocating for human rights around the globe. Join us in commemorating the progress made and acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead in our collective journey towards a more just and equitable world. Through engaging narratives, powerful testimonials, and inspiring perspectives, Fiesta De Derechos Humanos encapsulates the essence of our shared commitment to fostering a world where human rights flourish for all.

To view the entire program book visit: