Discover more from Latin America Daily Briefing
US ends controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy
August 9, 2022
On Monday night, the US Department Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy (El País). The suspension comes after a US Supreme Court decision that required a federal judge to annul his August 2021 ruling that forced President Biden to reverse his termination of the policy, a measure the president had enacted shortly after taking office. In a statement written after the Supreme Court ruling was announced, DHS declared it was “committed to ending the court-ordered implementation of MPP in a quick, and orderly, manner," and that “MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border.”
The “Remain in Mexico” program, a Trump-era policy, required migrants seeking asylum in the US to wait in Mexico, often in cruel and dangerous conditions (San Diego Union-Tribune). Though the decision to end the policy is a notable legal win for migrants, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on US border policy, as only a small percentage of migrants had actually been enrolled in the program since its inception. According to an MPP report, over 9,600 “non-citizens were enrolled in MPP” from December 2021 - June 2022, and in that same time period, over 5,700 migrants were returned to Mexico. Title 42, implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been used instead to prevent migrants from entering the country. Reuters reports that there have been more than 1.7 million individual attempts by migrants to cross the border so far this fiscal year up until June, in part due to Title 42 and the MPP program that restricted options for those seeking asylum and forced individuals to repeat attempts to cross, among other causes. 728 migrant fatalities were recorded by the UN in 2021, and 240 deaths have already been counted for 2022.
The Peruvian Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has presented a bill to Congress to deport foreigners meeting a variety of possible characteristics, primarily related to criminalization or irregular migration status, arguing that it would reduce crime in the country. The ombudsman condemned the proposal for stigmatization of a specific population, reports La República.
“Brazilian police arrested another five people in connection with the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira on Saturday, and said one of the suspects already in custody was likely the leader of an illegal fishing mafia based in the Amazon region,” reports The Guardian.
The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) has rejected a petition from the Ministry of Defense to access data and documents about the 2014 and 2018 elections. The TSE argued that the period for such requests had already expired and that certain information could not be sent by paper but must be viewed discreetly in the archives, reports Globo.
Just 30% of Brazilians trust the armed forces, a decrease of 5 percentage points from last year, according to a new Ipsos poll covered by Folha.
A decision by Colombia to stop producing oil is unlikely to curb global carbon emissions or reduce international demand, leaving Colombia without badly-needed oil reserves, writes Mauricio Cardenas in Americas Quarterly. He explains that, “The best strategy to combat climate change is to generate energy from renewable sources and electrify transport and industrial processes.”
690 people were arbitrarily arrested in El Salvador, most under ambiguous criteria, reports El Faro.
El País reports on the discrepancies between statistics from the Attorney General’s office and the Institute of Legal Medicine on the number of bodies found in unmarked graves.
The OAS signaled 20 years of failed international policy in Haiti and asked for greater international assistance and support as the country struggles to find a way out of its socioeconomic and political crisis. (Infobae)
AMLO announced a new presidential decree to place the National Guard under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Defense, violating the nature of the National Guard as an institution under civilian control, reports Reforma.
“Following the State of Mexico, Nuevo León is the second most violent state in the country for women in terms of the total number of femicides… Of all crimes monitored by government officials in Monterrey, femicide was the crime that rose the fastest in 2022. Compared to January through June of 2021, femicides are up 176 percent in the first six months of this year,” write James Bosworth and Lucy Hale at the Latin America Risk Report.
10 coal miners were trapped underground last Wednesday in northern Mexico following the mine’s collapse, reports Al Jazeera. The Mexican government is proceeding with search and rescue efforts, though frustration with the lack of urgency of these efforts has grown. (BBC)
Peru’s new finance minister, Kurt Burneo, aims to stimulate the economy through public investment, notes Bloomberg.
Russian propaganda is increasingly in languages other than English, making inroads in Latin America as social media companies fail to contain non-English language disinformation, reports The New York Times.
A new USIP commentary covers perspectives on Chinese engagement in China, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Nicaragua.
94% of Uruguayan electricity is from renewable sources, due in large part to continuity in public policies between successive Frente Amplio governments and the Lacalle Pou administration, reports Infobae.