AP – Mexican immigration authorities say 424 migrants from African countries arrived at the southern state of Chiapas over two days last week. The National Immigration Institute issued them 20-day transit visas that will allow the migrants to reach the U.S.-Mexico border, where they plan to request asylum.
AP – The Mexican government says it is taking control of a battered rail line long used by Central American migrants heading north toward the United States. Fewer migrants have been hopping the freight cars on the line since government agents began raiding the trains in 2014.
Mass deportations and inadequate asylum procedures in Mexico and the US have fueled a humanitarian crisis where desperate Central Americans seeking refuge from rampant violence are routinely preyed upon by criminal gangs and corrupt officials, according to a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG).
The tide of people fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – three of the five most dangerous countries in the world – continues apace despite beefed-up border control measures implemented after Barack Obama declared the 2014 surge in undocumented migrants a humanitarian crisis. Last year, Mexico deported 165,000 Central Americans, while the US expelled 75,000.
To avoid detection, vulnerable people – who include increasing numbers of women and unaccompanied children – are forced to pay higher fees to smugglers, crooked officials, and kidnappers, and use riskier, more isolated routes through Mexico, according to the report Easy Prey: Criminal Violence and Central American Migration. Once deported, many simply try again rather than face hunger and violence at home, creating a revolving door of vulnerable migrants and refugees.
The report comes after the US, for the first time, recognized that the surge in people currently fleeing Central America includes potential refugees, not just economic migrants. The Obama administration has announced a new scheme whereby Costa Rica will offer temporary protection to 200 eligible Central American refugees at a time before they are settled in the US or another country.
San Diego Union-Tribune – Not everyone who gets apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border is from Mexico. In the first six months of the year, 264,165 people were apprehended somewhere along the Southwest border, and 49.6 percent of them were from Mexico, according to data from the U.S. Border Patrol.
The Guardian – The British security firm Serco successfully lobbied public officials in a small Texas county near the Mexico border to propose that the federal government open a family detention centre in the jurisdiction. The billion-dollar company, implicated in numerous immigration detention centre scandals in the UK and Australia.
The number of Chinese immigrants illegally crossing the Mexican border into California has skyrocketed in recent years, the result of a lucrative smuggling industry, mass migration from China and a diversifying pool of migrants settling in the United States.
Between October and May, the first eight months of the fiscal year, Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector apprehended an estimated 663 Chinese nationals, compared with 48 in the entire previous fiscal year and eight in the year before that, according to data provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Before then, “we just weren’t getting [Chinese nationals],” said Wendi Lee, a spokeswoman for the Border Patrol.
Lee said criminal organizations involved in smuggling maximize their profits by transporting Chinese immigrants, often charging premiums to get them across the border.
“We’re talking anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 per person,” Lee said. “The farther you travel … the more arrangements these criminal organizations have to make, the more expensive it will get.”
China has become one of the world’s leading sources of immigrants, according to a February report by the Migration Policy Institute.
Media General – Families, mostly from Central America, are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in record numbers, surpassing levels seen during the 2014 crisis that caused widespread consternation at the highest levels of government.
To save time, Adriana Zavala would take a shortcut down an empty lane on the way to school, until the afternoon last September when the tattooed Salvadoran gangsters blocked her way.
The threats she began receiving that day — sell our drugs to your classmates or we’ll rape you — propelled the teenager, her father and 13-year-old sister to begin a five-month odyssey from El Salvador that has ended, for now, in McAllen, Texas. They are among thousands of migrants arriving at the U.S. border in what authorities fear could be another surge of Central American families.
On the U.S. campaign trail, illegal immigration is a hot-button topic, with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, vowing to build a 1,000-mile border wall. But along this stretch of Texas border, where migrants climb over and walk around existing fencing, such proposed solutions tend to draw scorn, even from Trump fans. And the politician’s tough talk, people here say, might actually be attracting more migrants.
Although the overall number of migrants apprehended along the border this year has not yet reached the proportions of the 2014 flood of Central Americans, some believe that could happen, with a summer surge before the presidential election in November.
“We’re definitely on track to catch up to it, which is not a good thing,” said Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent and union representative here. “The political climate has a lot to do with it.”
VOA -The number of Mexican migrants blocked from crossing the U.S. border in 2015 was at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. Two reasons are given for the low numbers: Better border security and an improved economy in Mexico.
EFE – The U.N. International Organization for Migration alerted Central American governments that the immigration crisis has not ended and that Cuban migrants intent on getting to the United States are still arriving and gathering in Panama.
LAT – The number of children and family members caught crossing the southern border fell again slightly last month, according to new government figures, but is expected to increase seasonally this summer ahead of the U.S. presidential election.
AA – Mexico has so far issued 4,717 humanitarian visas to Cuban nationals in 2016, according to the figures released Tuesday by the National Institute of Migration. The visas allow Cubans to remain in Mexico for 20 days – usually enough time to reach the U.S. border.
Reuters– Gang violence and poverty have for years pushed Mexicans and Central Americans north to the United States, but recently a new driver has emerged: the anti-immigrant tone of leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Azteca – 58 Guatemalan migrants, including 13 minors, were rescued by the interagency group headed by the Attorney General of the State of Chiapas. The migrants were traveling aboard a truck on the highway to Angel Albino Corzo International Airport.
AP – A humanitarian group in southern Arizona says six of its eight water stations for migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert have been vandalized, including one that was shot at and had the carcass of a coyote next to it.
ABC – After more than three months stranded in Costa Rica, 180 of the 8,000 Cuban migrants trapped there finally began their long-awaited trip north toward the U.S. border, flying into El Salvador and then travelling by bus to Guatemala on Wednesday.