Migration surge at U.S.-Mexico border
People in Latin America are migrating at levels not seen in decades — pushed by economic shockwaves from pandemic, recession, and inflation in food prices. Distinct national crises from Nicaragua to Ecuador have added push factors. “You couldn’t come up with a worse set of facts to leave tens of millions of people with no choice but to move,” Dan Restrepo, who served as President Barack Obama’s top adviser on Latin America, told the New York Times. “It’s inevitable that you’d have massive displacement, it really is a perfect storm.” (See yesterday’s post.)
The current border crisis, in part, reflects dated U.S. laws for refugees, asylum seekers and immigration enforcement, which haven’t been updated to reflect modern realities — like the far larger U.S. economy — or the increasing number of families with small children who try to enter the U.S., reports the New York Times.
“Some 660,000 migrants were waiting in Mexico earlier this month, most likely poised to cross into the United States in the coming days and weeks, according to a Homeland Security intelligence analysis obtained by The New York Times. And migrants are still making their way north through Central America.”
The expected end of Title 42 is likely behind a particular surge in migration numbers this month. Last month, Mexico issued nearly 30,000 humanitarian visas to migrants in Chiapas state according to figures released by Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, more than triple the monthly average in the first three months of the year, reports the New York Times.
In many cases migrants have been rushing to cross the border before the lifting of Title 42, or angling to cross after, reflecting confusion over whether the border will be more open before or after. “Neither is accurate, and yet regardless of their view, many people believe they have no time to waste and are heading directly toward the United States,” reports the New York Times.
The new regulations the U.S. is implementing to replace Title 42, which expires tonight, will lead many migrants to be deported — but others will still get into the United States. The New York Times reviews what the new process will look like. (See yesterday’s post.)
Immigration advocates say the new Biden administration asylum ban — requiring migrants to show proof they applied for asylum, and were rejected, in countries they traveled through en route to the U.S. — mirrors the Trump administration’s “safe third country” policy, which was ultimately struck down by federal judges. (Miami Herald, see yesterday’s post.)
Peruvian security forces used disproportionate and indiscriminate force in Juliaca on Jan. 9 the single deadliest day of repression of recent protests, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. Eighteen protesters and bystanders were killed. The report refutes official accounts provided to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and in public statements.
Haiti has descended into anarchy, as vigilante groups respond to gang terror with lynchings. Faced with scraps of a government lacking in democratic credentials, that is supposed to be organizing elections, “many Haitians are hoping instead for an armed international intervention, even knowing that it would prop up (Prime Minister Ariel) Henry’s regime, and even though they have experienced the predations of past actions,” writes Pooja Bhatia in the New Statesman.
Latin American leaders are fumbling growth opportunities, prioritizing outmoded political and economic models, argues Michael Stott in the Financial Times.
The alleged murderers of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips said they committed the crime in “self-defense,” but Brazilian activists said their accounts were “far-fetched and deceitful versions” in contrast with “the truth of the facts, scientific evidence, and concrete information” surrounding the murders. (Guardian)
Celso Amorim, special adviser to Brazil’s presidency on international affairs, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, yesterday. Amorim told press his dialogue with Ukrainian officials was positive and built confidence, and that it helped to explain Brazil’s objectives for peace. (Associated Press)
Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad voiced concern to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that Argentina's economic challenges, including a major drought, could bring in an extremist government in October’s elections. (Reuters)
Argentina’s struggle to save its currency from total meltdown has drained most of the country’s liquid international reserves, according to some estimates. (Bloomberg)
Argentine President Alberto Fernández said a Supreme Court decision this week to postpone provincial elections only adds weight to his administration’s push to oust the four judges of the country’s highest tribunal. Democracy is being held “hostage by a group of judges,” he said. (EFE)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he would present a constitutional reform to have judges and magistrates elected by the people. He has lashed out against the judiciary this week, after the Supreme Court struck down a portion of his electoral reform. (Reuters)
China and Ecuador signed a free trade agreement this morning, reports Reuters.
Chile's senate approved a new mining royalty bill that would raise taxes on large copper producers. The bill now goes to the lower chamber of Congress. (Reuters)
Chile’s government confirmed that private health insurance companies will have to pay about $1.4 billion to abide by a 2022 Supreme Court ruling, reports Bloomberg.
After decades of violence, Colombia is still struggling to emerge from conflict. “Teach for Colombia” is training hundreds of teachers to talk with students about the violence they've experienced — Deutsche Welle
Forrest Hylton at the London Review of Books makes a plea for “Víctor Peña, a displaced cacique of the Zenú people whose entire family has died since the Covid-19 pandemic began, some of them murdered by narco-paramilitaries.”
The Hill interviews Luis Murillo, Colombia’s first Black ambassador to the United States. “I think we’re at a very interesting moment where the participation of the Afro-Colombian community has helped ingrain democracy in the country,” he said.