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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.
Learn more here.
February 4, 2020
We expect hundreds of people of all ages to attend our Social Justice Teach-In on February 8 and engage in a variety of workshops covering issues such as environmentalism, food justice, peacemaking, racial justice, refugees, state-sponsored violence, creative nonviolence, and worker justice. Most of the attendees will be high school and college students from 30-35 schools, who can attend for free because of the generosity of dozens of co-sponsors. Please support this important event that empowers young people to become leaders for positive social change.
January 23, 2020
The US government has started sending asylum seekers back to Nogales, Mexico, to await court hearings that will be scheduled roughly 350 miles (563km) away in Ciudad Juárez. Authorities are expanding a program known as Remain in Mexico that requires tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait out their immigration court hearings in Mexico. Until this week, the government was driving some asylum seekers from Nogales, Arizona, to El Paso, Texas, so they could be returned to Juárez. Critics say the program, one of several Trump administration policies that have all but ended asylum in the US, puts migrants who fled their home countries back into dangerous Mexican border towns where they are often kidnapped, robbed or extorted.
January 9, 2020
An officer tasked with separating migrant children from their parents under that pilot program speaks out — offering a rare public criticism of the initiative from within Border Patrol’s own ranks. “That was the most horrible thing I’ve ever done,” Wesley Farris, a high-ranking officer with El Paso’s Border Patrol Union, tells FRONTLINE’s Martin Smith in the above excerpt. “You can’t help but see your own kids.” “It was a young boy. I think he was about two. The world was upside down to that kid,” Farris says. “So when the contractor tried to take him away, he reached for me and he climbed up on me again, and he was holding on to me. So that that one got me a little bit.”
December 18, 2019
The logistical challenges were daunting, but as luck would have it, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already had a partner on its payroll: McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm brought on under the Obama administration to help engineer an “organizational transformation” in the ICE division charged with deporting migrants who are in the United States unlawfully. ICE quickly redirected McKinsey toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House’s clampdown on illegal immigration. McKinsey, the firm’s presentations show, pursued “detention savings opportunities” in blunt ways. The consultants encouraged ICE to adopt a “longer-term strategy” with “operational decisions to fill low cost beds before expensive beds.” In practice, that meant shunting detainees to less expensive — and sometimes less safe — facilities, often rural county jails. “There’s a concerted effort to try to ship folks ICE sees as long-term detainees to these low-cost facilities run by local sheriffs’ offices where conditions are abysmal,” said Eunice Cho, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on issues involving the detention of immigrants. McKinsey also looked to cut costs by lowering standards at ICE detention facilities, according to an internal ICE email and two former agency officials.
December 13, 2019
Michael Joseph is the UCC Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker in Colombia.The violence related to Colombia’s war was on the rise in the early 2000s when church and human rights partners in Colombia became concerned about a huge increase in U.S. military aid that they feared would add more fuel to the fire. They decided to document, as best they could, the impact of this war on the Protestant church in Colombia. Michael joined this documentation program after going to Colombia with Global Ministries in 2007. Today, twelve years later, this human rights documentation program has recorded over 10,000 human rights violations. In 2020 he will transition to working at the Nojolo'on Peace Center in Mexico as a Global Ministries Global Associate.
December 5, 2019
A video obtained by ProPublica shows the Border Patrol held a sick teen in a concrete cell without proper medical attention and did not discover his body until his cellmate alerted guards. The video doesn’t match the Border Patrol's account of his death. Customs and Border Protectionsaid that an agent had found Carlos “unresponsive” after checking in on him. ProPublica has obtained video that documents the 16-year-old’s last hours, and it shows that Border Patrol agents and health care workers at the Weslaco holding facility missed increasingly obvious signs that his condition was perilous. “Why is a teenaged boy in a jail facility at all if he is sick with a transmissible illness? Why isn’t he at a hospital or at a home or clinic where he can get a warm bed, fluids, supervised attention and medical care? He is not a criminal,” said Dr. Judy Melinek, a San Francisco-based forensic pathologist who reviewed records of Carlos’ death at the request of ProPublica. Interviews and documents illustrate how immigration and child welfare agencies, while grappling with surging migrant numbers, were unable to meet their own guidelines for processing and caring for children. With holding tanks that were never equipped to house migrants for more than a few hours, the Border Patrol was inundated with families and children. Shelters for children, offering beds and medical care, were already packed. Migrants were supposed to be held in CBP centers for no more than three days before being deported, moved to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers or released pending a hearing. But Carlos had arrived at the peak of the surge, with 144,000 migrants apprehended in May alone. With the overflow crowds, nothing was working as it should have been. HHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were backlogged in transferring children out of CBP custody. In a spot check soon after Carlos died, the DHS inspector general reported that a third of the 2,800 unaccompanied minors in CBP custody in the Rio Grande Valley had been there longer than 72 hours.
December 1, 2019
December 1, 2019
Dear Governor Astudillo Flores:
We are shocked at the discovery of the body of indigenous community leader Arnulfo Cerón Soriano on November 20, under several tons of soil in a clandestine grave in the "El Aguaje" colony in Tlapa, Guerrero.
November 21, 2019
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.”
November 19, 2019
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.
November 12, 2019
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.