Monthly Archives: August 2019

Homeland Security visits Guatemala

 

 

August 23, 2019

 

Guatemala Minister of the Interior, Enrique Antonio Degenhart, and U.S. Deputy Director of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan visited the immigration center at La Peñita, where thousands of immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East arrive seeking asylum. Degenhart and McAleenan signed a joint memorandum to improve cooperation on preventing and combating crime and other threats to national security between Guatemala and the United States, furthermore, they confirmed that once the Congress of Guatemala approves the “third safe country” agreement, Guatemala’s immigration centers will receive Hondurans and Salvadorians refugees and asylum seekers.

Although the newly elected president, Alejandro Giammattei, has declared that the agreement needs some modifications for its approval, McAleenan assured that the current U.S. Administration is always open to dialogue.

Guatemala lacks infrastructure, resources, and staff to properly process refugees, asylum seekers and detainees at the immigration centers, it is hard to believe that the third safe country agreement would improve the conditions of the deportees.

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Yemen risks fragmentation if Conflict continues, warns UN envoy – The Irish Times

Chaos in Yemen could enable re-emergence of extremist groups – Martin Griffiths UN Special Envoy to Yemen

Micheal Jansen from The Irish Times, reports that UN envoy Martin Griffiths has warned that Yemen risks fragmentation due to warfare in the south.

Secessionist figures have repeatedly stated their aim is to recreate the independent state of South Yemen, which merged with North Yemen in 1990 to form the Yemen Arab Republic. The Yemeni government refuses to hold talks with the separatists unless they withdraw from Aden, hand over weapons and permit the return of government forces. The Yemeni government accuses the Emirates and secessionists of plotting to fragment the country despite Saudi calls for de-escalation in the south and a return to the battle against Houthi rebels in the north.

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Guatemala’s Presidential Election 2019


Alejandro Giammattei
will lead the nation that has become the main source of migrants traveling to the border between Mexico and the United States. The representative of the Vamos party obtained 57.95% of the ballots, compared to 42.05% of his contender, the Social Democrat Torres.

The recently elected President of Guatemala will have the task of overseeing the final implementation of the agreement that labeled Guatemala as a “third safe country” by the White House.

Giammattei’s campaign promises

Migrant Children & Parents to remain in detention facilities for more than 20 days​

Yesterday, President Trump announced big changes regarding immigration processes that according to him will “lead to more humane conditions” for asylum-seeking families and children. But would be? Fact is, taking away the 20 days time limit restriction will do more harm than good because it will undermine access to legal counsel due to the isolation or transfer to other facilities, violate due process rights, jeopardize basic health, the overall safety of detainees, and traumatize children.

Image result for sonia nazario books It is not about cutting off “pull factors for illegal immigration” as Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen states, it is about tackling push factors, is about improving the livelihood of women and children in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala guaranteeing the rule of law, consolidating gender equality in communities, and creating effective non-violent mechanisms to resolve conflicts, transforming root causes for those who are fleeing violence and being pushed out of their homes, not about creating deterrents that will make the journey a more dangerous one.

What is the Flores Settlement?

The Flores Settlement Agreement (1997) compels the U.S. government to transfer minors from border jails into state-licensed facilities as expeditiously as possible; in 2015 court ruled that officials could not hold children in unlicensed facilities for more than 20 days, the time the government said it needed to process their cases.

The argument the Trump administration makes is that the current immigration system, specifically the Flores settlement, helps fuel human trafficking coming across the southern border.

“The driving factor for this crisis is weakness in our legal framework for immigration. Human smugglers advertise, and intending migrants know well that even if they cross the border illegally, arriving at our border with a child has meant that they will be released into the United States to wait for court proceedings that could take five years or more.” – Kevin McAleenan

Mr. McAleenan is right and wrong at the same time, he has a real point the U.S. immigration system doesn’t respond to the needs and problems of modern times; with its static quotas, bans to specific nationalities, strict requirements for current residents, and the burden for immigrants to find a sponsor; the current immigration policies enable trafficking, and until is fixed we will continue to see it. However, he is wrong regarding the use of children as pawns for illegal crossing, since there is no such evidence for that claim, the children at the immigration detention centers either came unaccompanied or with a family member.

Fact is, asylum seekers are fleeing their home countries in Central America because of sexual assault, domestic violence, gang-related violence, and extreme poverty, they need legal counsel, due processes, safety, and be treated with dignity, not criminalized.

More on this topic

Reactions

“Indefinite detention of children is something that we saw in the apartheid South Africa. It’s something that we saw in Nazi Germany. It’s not something that we would ever expect to see in 21st century America.” – Warren Binford

“For the government to be attempting to strip children and families of these protections leaves the door wide open for abuses and poor treatment during the pendency of their case.” -Wendy Young. President of KIND

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“The detention of children can lead to trauma, suicidal feelings, and exposure to dangerously inadequate medical care.” Clara Long, Acting Deputy Washington Director at Human Rights Watch.

“There is no way we can trust that the same administration that let six children die under its watch, and argued that kids don’t need basic necessities like soap and toothbrushes, is capable of regulating itself.” -Jess Morales Rocketto, chair of Families Belong Together

Recommended reading

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The story of a boy’s dangerous trip from Honduras to the United States.

Heartbreaking and eye-opening.