i got asked one time what part of Mexico Guatemala was in and it’s indelibly etched into my mind
International Day of the Disappeared
On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30), Amnesty International (AI) once again calls attention to the Mexican government’s inadequate response to the crisis of the missing: “Once again, the Mexican government offers a new figure for “people not located,” without clarity about how this information was obtained or any transparency,” according to AI. (The latest figures are ~22,000, but I’ve seen numbers ranging from 8,000 to 50,000…)
"It is of concern that the figures did not specify how many people are alleged victims of enforced disappearance — that is, when there is evidence of direct or indirect involvement of a police officer in the abduction of a person, who refuses to disclose information about the victim’s whereabouts. We must remember that, even though in many cases public officials are involved, there are almost now judicial proceedings against them nor victims found.”
While there are a slew of new task forces, databases, committees (e.g., Plan Nacional de Búsqueda sistematizado, la creación de una Red Nacional de Procuración de Justicia para la Búsqueda de Personas, la Unidad Especializada en Búsqueda de Personas de la PGR), they don’t really seem to do much of anything, much less coordinate their efforts.
Anímal Político shares pictures of committees comprised of families demanding the immediate return of their family members:
En Monterrey, Nuevo León, familiares de desaparecidos se reunieron afuera de la Catedral para conmemorar este día:
Guatemalan consul visits families held in Artesia, says ICE officers need “human rights training”
Highest Immigration Court Affirms Domestic Violence as Grounds for Asylum
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative immigration court in the United States, published a landmark decision today in Matter of A-R-C-G-. This ruling has the potential to affect immigrant women survivors of domestic violence across the country. The BIA found that women fleeing domestic violence can be members of a particular social group, one of the grounds for asylum, and remanded a case involving a Guatemalan woman asylum seeker to the immigration court for a new decision. The Board’s decision signals a move away from restrictive interpretations of the law that have made it difficult for domestic violence survivors to receive protection in the United States. CGRS provided consultation to the attorney in the case and filed an amicus brief.
The case involves a mother of three, Ms. C-G-, who suffered what the decision deems “repugnant abuse” at the hands of her husband, including beatings, rapes, an assault that broke her nose, and an attack with paint thinner that left her with burn scars. Her efforts to get police protection were in vain, as they refused to interfere, and her husband threatened to kill her if she contacted them further. Her husband thwarted her repeated efforts to leave and stay with relatives when he found her and threatened her if she did not return.
“If a woman in this situation cannot count on the U.S. government for protection, when her own government has failed her, who can?” asked Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (CGRS). “We are pleased that the Board of Immigration Appeals finally broke its fifteen-year silence on this issue and recognized through a fair application of the law that this woman, and women like her, can establish eligibility for asylum.”
ICE detains 11-year-old boy for more than a month before noticing that he is a US citizen
One of the hundreds of children being held at an immigration detention facility in, New Mexico, was released last week when officials realized the 11-year-old boy was a U.S. citizen [traveling with his mother, who is not]…
In the past nine months, border agents have apprehended roughly 63,000 unaccompanied children—mostly from Central America. That is in addition to single parents with at least one child who have been apprehended as well along the Southwest border. As officials have sped up the processing time and immigration courts are fast-tracking the children’s cases, Laura Lichter—an immigration attorney who has been providing free legal counsel to detainees in Artesia—said the 11-year-old boy’s situation highlights the problems with rushing the cases:
“I think the fact that a U.S. citizen was detained and for this long before anyone actually realized that there was even the possibility that they had detained a U.S. citizen shows you just how little respect and attention is being given to people’s cases,” said Lichter, former president of American Immigration Lawyers Association. “What this shows you is that there really is no due process here and that the system is only working in a way to deport people from the country. It is not working to protect people’s claims.”
This boy’s case is merely one example, but the U.S. should not be lowering the bar on due process protections in the face of challenges posed by the arrival of thousands of children and young families at our southern border as they flee violence in Central America. The expedited process being pursued against the families at Artesia, may in fact be too expedited where speed is taking precedence over fairness and due process.
Photo by Nicolas Alejandro.