Categories for Central America

31,968. 12/31/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP BUSINESS: “For years, the Trump Organization used undocumented workers to tend to its hotels, golf courses and other properties, even as Donald Trump railed against the threat of illegal immigration as both a candidate and president. This year, faced with a public reckoning after some of those workers came forward, the organization has been cracking down. Dozens have been fired. The company vowed to follow what was already a widespread industry practice of using E-Verify checks to confirm employment eligibility. Leaders issued messages to laborers that they would need to show proof that they could work. Immigrants from places like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico have left their jobs. Then, on Monday, after harvests were complete at Trump Winery in Virginia, the organization fired several more.”

Mike Baker, “Firings at Trump Property Cap Year of Purging Undocumented Workers,” The New York Times online, December 31, 2019

29,544. 10/16/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Guatemala, Honduras & El Salvador have all signed historic Asylum Cooperation Agreements and are working to end the scourge of human smuggling. To further accelerate this progress, the U.S. will shortly be approving targeted assistance in the areas of law enforcement & security.” 

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, October 16, 2019 1:44 pm

27,617. 8/20/2019

AGRICULTURE/CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “In a bid to strengthen an asylum deal forged between Guatemala’s outgoing president and the United States, a U.S. official offered on Monday [8-19-19] to triple the number of temporary farmworker visas available to Guatemalans. Last month, under threat of painful sanctions issued by U.S. President Donald Trump, Guatemala’s Jimmy Morales agreed to require U.S.-bound Hondurans and Salvadorans to seek refuge in Guatemala instead of proceeding north. The deal, known as a ‘safe third country’ agreement, is meant to reduce U.S. asylum claims. While hailed by Trump, it has also provoked widespread criticism from rights groups citing the risks of sending vulnerable people to a country with endemic poverty and violence. Guatemala’s incoming president, Alejandro Giammattei, won a runoff election earlier this month and said afterwards that the deeply unpopular deal still needs to be approved by Guatemala’s legislature as well as the U.S. Congress, further complicating its future.” 

Sophia Menchu, “U.S. envoy offers farm visas to boost asylum deal with Guatemala,” Reuters, August 20, 2019 4:47 am

27,292. 8/8/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/CUBA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WALL: “There is a new hint of life in the dilapidated downtown of Ciudad Juárez, which residents abandoned as a recession and drug gang murders ravaged the city a decade ago. Thousands of Cubans, waiting in limbo for a decision on their requests for asylum in the United States, have made the crumbling few blocks their home, finding work and renting cheap hotel rooms. The first Cuban restaurant opened in April, when a migrant staff of 10 began serving up the traditional shredded beef dish known as ropa vieja. Banners bear the Cuban flag on the sidewalk outside, signaling how the city’s newcomers are starting to forge a life here, even if it still remains difficult, uncertain and temporary…Border communities like Ciudad Juárez, filled with migrants from Cuba, Central America and elsewhere, are adapting to a new reality: They may be the final destination, and no longer just a stop on the way north to the United States.”

Elisabeth Malkin, “In Ciudad Juárez, Migrants Dream of America but ‘Run Into Trump’s Wall’,” The New York Times online, August 8, 2019

27,135. 8/2/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/MIKE POMPEO/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump struck an agreement last week to require thousands of Central American migrants to seek asylum in Guatemala before coming to the United States. But the White House ceremony to hail what the president called a ‘landmark’ measure — one that could transform the American immigration system — almost did not happen. Just two hours earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had criticized the agreement in a closed-door meeting with Mr. Trump and Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, and several other aides, according to three senior administration officials briefed on a debate that ensued in the Oval Office. Mr. Pompeo called the agreement flawed and a mistake, and he told Mr. Trump that the Guatemalan government did not have the ability to carry out its terms, said the three officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss delicate deliberations.”

Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, “Trump Officials Argued Over Asylum Deal With Guatemala. Now Both Countries Must Make It Work.,” The New York Times online, August 2, 2019

27,070. 7/31/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/SANCTIONS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Guatemala’s refugee agency meets only sporadically and operates on a bare-bones basis, adding to doubts about how the crime-wracked, impoverished Central American country will cope with a surge in asylum-seekers under a deal signed with Washington. Guatemala’s shortcomings raise doubts about U.S. migration deal signed with Washington.Under Friday’s [8-2-19] accord, Guatemala becomes a so-called ‘safe third country,’ turning it into a buffer zone for migrants trying to reach the United States, and potentially lifting applications for asylum in Guatemala from a few hundred a year to tens of thousands. U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed Mexico and Guatemala to sign such agreements to make asylum-seekers passing through their territory solicit safe haven in those countries, and not in the United States.”

Sophia Menchu, “Guatemala’s shortcomings raise doubts about U.S. migration deal,” Reuters, July 31, 2019 12:06 pm

26,955. 7/26/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/DHS/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The US signed an asylum agreement Friday [7-26-19] afternoon with Guatemala that could limit the ability of some Central American migrants to claim asylum in the US. The agreement, which President Donald Trump announced in the Oval Office, commits Guatemala to extend asylum to migrants who seek it when they’re moving through the country. Migrants who still decide to journey to the US to claim asylum will be returned to Guatemala, according to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan…Friday’s agreement is a show of cooperation between the two countries, as they’ve done numerous times before, on the heels of the President’s frustrations with the Guatemala for not moving pressing forward with a ‘safe-third’ agreement. Earlier this month, the US appeared close to signing a safe-third country agreement with Guatemala. But Guatemala’s Constitutional Court blocked the Guatemalan president from signing the agreement.”

Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands, “US signs asylum agreement with Guatemala,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, July 26, 2019 6:17 pm

26,950. 7/26/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “‘@DHSgov @DHSMcAleenan Puts Guatemalan Migrants on Fast Track Home’ https://t.co/SrkbGqsqvv

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, July 26, 2019 4:59 pm

26,949. 7/26/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @WhiteHouse: Today, President Trump announced a safe third country agreement with Guatemala that will put human smugglers out of busines…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, July 26, 2019 4:38 pm

26,927. 7/26/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TARIFFS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump on Friday [7-26-19] again sought to block migrants from Central America from seeking asylum, announcing an agreement with Guatemala to require people who travel through that country to seek refuge from persecution there instead of in the United States. American officials said the deal could go into effect within weeks, though critics vowed to challenge it in court, saying that Guatemala is itself one of the most dangerous countries in the world — hardly a refuge for those fleeing gangs and government violence. Mr. Trump had been pushing for a way to slow the flow of migrants streaming across the Mexican border and into the United States in recent months. This week, the president had threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemala, to tax money that Guatemalan migrants in the United States send back to family members, or to ban all travel from the country if the agreement were not signed.”

Michael D. Shear, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Elisabeth Malkin, “After Tariff Threat, Trump Says Guatemala Has Agreed to New Asylum Rules,” The New York Times online, July 26, 2019 

26,844. 7/23/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TARIFFS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Declaring that ‘Guatemala has not been good,’ President Trump threatened on Tuesday [7-23-19] to retaliate against the country for not signing an immigration deal. He said his administration was considering imposing tariffs on Guatemalan exports or taxing money sent home by migrants. The deal, called a ‘safe third country’ agreement, would have required migrants who pass through Guatemala to seek asylum there, instead of continuing to the United States…The president’s early-morning Twitter post roiled Guatemala’s already turbulent politics less than three weeks ahead of the country’s Aug. 11 presidential election. Critics pointed to it as another reason to condemn the departing government of Jimmy Morales, which has courted the Trump administration…As the number of migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras reaching the southern United States border has soared, the Trump Administration has put pressure on Central American governments to stop them.”

Elisabeth Malkin, “Trump Threatens Guatemala With Tariffs Over Migrants,” The New York Times online, July 23, 2019

26,831. 7/23/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/TARIFFS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “….Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above. Guatemala has not been good. Big U.S. taxpayer dollars going to them was cut off by me 9 months ago.” 

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, July 23, 2019 7:23 am

26,830. 7/23/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Guatemala, which has been forming Caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records, to the United States, has decided to break the deal they had with us on signing a necessary Safe Third Agreement. We were ready to go. Now we are looking at the ‘BAN,’….”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, July 23, 2019 7:23 am

26,817. 7/22/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/POLLS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Mexico has sharply reduced migration across its territory toward the United States, officials say, and recent polls suggest hardening local attitudes toward migrants who remain in the country. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced Monday [7-22-19] that Mexico had reduced northward migration by 36.2%. He credited the National Guard and a tightening of immigration enforcement for the change, all part of a 45-day trial to prove to the United States that measures to stem migration are working. Ebrard’s announcement comes on the heels of a poll released last week that suggests attitudes are changing in a country that welcomed many migrants just a year ago, when ordinary citizens offered food and donations to people making their way from Central and South America to the US-Mexico border. The poll, conducted by the Washington Post and Mexican newspaper Reforma, showed a sizable majority of Mexicans feel that increased migration through the country from Central America is a burden on their economy and services. Just over half also favor deporting more migrants, according to the poll.”

Natalie Gallón, Nick Paton Walsh and Tatiana Arias, “Mexico: US-bound migration has been cut by 30%,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, July 22, 2019 7:05 pm

26,608. 7/15/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Long before a surge of migrants from Central America overwhelmed the southwestern border, the Trump administration was already waging a broad assault on the rules determining who can seek asylum in the United States. But on Monday [7-15-19], the administration announced one of its most restrictive rules yet for a system, enshrined in international law, that Mr. Trump has called ‘ridiculous’ and ‘insane.’ In a move that would stop virtually all Central American families who are fleeing persecution and poverty from entering the United States, Trump administration officials said they would deny asylum to migrants who failed to apply for protections in at least one country they passed through on their way north. Under the new rule, Hondurans and Salvadorans would have to apply for — and be denied — asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they were eligible to apply for asylum in the United States. Guatemalans would have to apply for and be denied asylum in Mexico. The rule would effectively limit asylum protections to Mexicans and those who cross the United States’ southwestern border by sea.” 

Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, “Most Migrants at Border With Mexico Would Be Denied Asylum Protections Under New Trump Rule,” The New York Times online, July 15, 2019

25,966. 6/24/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/ELECTION/FOREIGN POLICY/HISPANICS/IMMIGRATION/JOE BIDEN/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized President Trump’s ‘racist invective’ and called for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and a new foreign policy direction in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of his presidential campaign’s first glimpse of his immigration policy. Biden’s announcement, which appeared Monday [6-24-19] in a Miami Herald op-ed, was as much a broad outline of his immigration and foreign policy ideas as it was a critique of Trump administration policies…The op-ed comes just days after Hispanic leaders and grassroots groups criticized Biden for skipping a National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference in Miami and for saying relatively little about issues of specific importance to Latino voters. The op-ed drops just two days before the Democratic presidential candidates square off in Miami for their first debate. In a nod to South Florida’s politically active Latin American and Caribbean communities, Biden also took Trump to task for ending Temporary Protective Status of immigrants, many of whom hail from Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador and who have large communities in Florida.”

Marc Caputo, “Biden blasts Trump’s ‘racist invective’ in immigration plan roll-out,” Politico, June 24, 2019 6:00 am

25,929. 6/21/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/TARIFFS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The air is thick with humidity on the Suchiate River that separates Mexico from Guatemala. Yet the pontoon men are busy as usual. Using long poles, they strain as they push wooden rafts lashed to huge inner tubes from one bank to the other, illegally but openly ferrying goods and humans from one country to the other for the equivalent of just over a dollar a head. This is how many migrants enter Mexico on their journey north to the United States. They come from many places, but mainly the ‘Northern Triangle’ countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Increasingly, they come from other nations too, including Cuba, Haiti, and a number of African nations. These are the people US President Donald Trump — using tariffs as a weapon — has demanded Mexico somehow halt in their tracks…Amid so many heartbreaking cases, the Gonzalez Trejo family from Honduras stood out: The matriarch, Juana Isabel wept as she told us that three generations of the family — the youngest just five months old — had been sleeping on the streets for more than a week in the stifling heat and afternoon downpours, waiting for their next processing appointment, still nearly a month away.”

Michael Holmes and Natalie Gallón, “Can Mexico fix the migrant crisis?,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, June 21, 2019 2:39 pm

25,927. 6/21/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/DEMS/FEDERAL FUNDING/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “U.S. Democrats in the House of Representatives on Friday [6-21-19] proposed reinstating hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that was cut off by the Trump administration because thousands of their citizens sought asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico. The proposal was tucked into a bill to provide $4.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to address the surge of migrants at the southern U.S. border. Republican President Donald Trump has sought that funding for U.S. programs that house, feed, transport and oversee the record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum and straining capacity at migrant shelters in U.S. border cities. But the Trump administration cut aid to the three Central American countries earlier this week after Trump expressed unhappiness with their immigration policies. Congressional aides said the administration told them some $550 million in aid would be reallocated or suspended. Democratic lawmakers have said it was cruel to slash aid to countries that are grappling with hunger and crime, and that the move would be counterproductive because it would more likely increase the number of migrants than decrease it.”

Susan Cornwell, “House Democrats propose reinstating aid to Central America,” Reuters, June 21, 2019 12:50 pm

25,074. 5/17/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/ICE/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Trump administration is preparing to send Central American migrants caught along the southern border to Border Patrol stations “across the entire nation,’ according to a senior Border Patrol official who confirmed the plans Friday. With more than 4,500 people being caught each day crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the agency has run out of room at its Border Patrol facilities in the four border states. The agency has started looking at its facilities around the country, which are mostly along the northern border with Canada and coastal states. That means states from Oregon to North Dakota to Maine may begin receiving planeloads of migrant families in the weeks to come. On Tuesday [5-14-19], Customs and Border Protection sent its first plane full of migrants from Texas to San Diego. The official confirmed reports on Thursday [5-16-19] that the Florida counties of Broward and Palm Beach are under consideration given the size and capabilities of Border Patrol stations in the South Florida region. But he did not say if the decision is final or when the flights would start.”

Alan Gomez, “Trump administration prepares to release Central American migrants ‘across the entire nation’,” USA Today, May 17, 2019 6:37 pm

24,760. 5/9/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/DEMS/FOREIGN AID/HOUSE OF REPS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “A Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives committee moved on Thursday [5-9-19] toward restoring hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to Central America that was cut off by President Donald Trump, setting up a potential showdown with the White House. A House Appropriations subcommittee released a draft of its bill funding the State Department and foreign aid programs for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, that rejects the Republican president’s proposals for steep cuts. It also seeks to influence policy, including by prohibiting funds from supporting the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and removing a Republican-led prohibition on contributions to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, and prohibits the use of funds to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The Trump administration said in March it would cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras after Trump blasted the three countries because thousands of their citizens had sought asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico.”

Patricia Zengerle, “House seeks to restore Central American aid, defying Trump,” Reuters, May 9, 2019 10:30 am

23,702. 4/3/2019

CENTRAL AMERICA/FOREIGN AID/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/VENEZUELA: “The Trump administration is preparing an economic relief package for Venezuela that would put United States dollars directly into the hands of Venezuelans in the event that the government of President Nicolás Maduro falls. Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, disclosed the outlines of the plan on Wednesday as he called on Mr. Maduro to step aside and allow Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader whom the United States recognizes as Venezuela’s interim president, to take office. Plans for a comprehensive aid package for Venezuela come as President Trump is cutting aid to other countries, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, out of frustration over the way those nations have handled their migration policies. Mr. Trump has also threatened to cut funding to Puerto Rico, a United States territory, over its handling of federal hurricane relief funds…Venezuela has been crippled for years by hyperinflation and a failing economy that has led millions to flee for Colombia and other countries. The nation has been further disrupted since January, when opposition political leaders refused to acknowledge as legitimate the re-election of Mr. Maduro. The United States has thrown its support behind Mr. Guaidó, who declared himself interim president that month.”

Alan Rappeport, “Trump Prepares Aid Package for Venezuela in Case Maduro Government Falls,” The New York Times online, April 3, 2019

23,656. 4/2/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/MEXICO/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “After many years (decades), Mexico is apprehending large numbers of people at their Southern Border, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They have ALL been taking U.S. money for years, and doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for us, just like the Democrats in Congress!” 

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, April 2, 2019 9:41 am

23,652. 4/2/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/IMMIGRATION/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump, in his most recent rebuke of Central American nations for what he says is their failure to address the issue of migration, announced plans to cut off aid to three nations — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — known as the Northern Triangle. Critics of the cuts say they will target programs aimed at preventing violence, curbing extreme poverty and hunger, and strengthening the justice system — the very problems residents of those countries give for leaving home and pursuing a more stable future elsewhere. Though the administration has offered little in the way of details about what precisely could be cut, the State Department notified Congress on Friday [3-29-19] night that it would divert about $450 million in aid from the region. President Trump also threatened to seal off the southern border of the United States with Mexico if that country ‘doesn’t get with it.’ So what’s really at stake, and what types of programs could these cuts affect in each nation? The United States Agency for International Development describes the multiyear Strategy for Central America, which is responsible for dispersing much of this aid, as focused on institutional reforms and developmental challenges that drive migration.”

Megan Specia, “Trump Wants to Cut Aid to Central America. Here Are Some of the Dozens of U.S.-Funded Programs.,” The New York Times online, April 2, 2019

23,589. 3/29/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/FOREIGN AID/MEXICO/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump said on Friday [3-29-19] that there would be a ‘very good likelihood’ that he would seal off the United States border with Mexico next week, even as he moved to punish Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for migrant caravans by cutting off all foreign aid to the countries. The moves escalated a sustained berating of countries he blames for being unable to stop the flow of migrants trying to make their way north…At Mr. Trump’s direction, the State Department on Friday began the process of informing Congress that it intended to end the foreign aid. A person with knowledge of the decision said that Mr. Trump met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, after which diplomats were directed to begin the process of cutting off the funds by drafting letters to lawmakers. Mr. Trump publicly said as much on Friday in comments to reporters…The State Department issued a statement late on Friday saying: ‘At the secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the president’s direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle. We will be engaging Congress as part of this process.’ Mr. Trump has threatened to close off the border and cut off aid to the three countries — known as the Northern Triangle — several times before and has not followed through.”

Katie Rogers, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Michael D. Shear, “Trump Directs State Dept. to End Aid to 3 Central American Countries,” The New York Times online, March 29, 2019

23,555. 3/28/2019

BORDER/CENTRAL AMERICA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump criticized Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on Thursday [3-28-19] for accepting monetary aid from the United States but doing nothing in return, a day after his homeland security secretary struck what she described as a historic agreement with three of those same countries to help strengthen security on the United States’ southwestern border. Mr. Trump also threatened to close the border, a move he has previously considered, which would have a significant economic impact by disrupting the flow of trade and labor. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met on Tuesday with Mexican officials in Miami and on Wednesday with Central American officials in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to discuss the humanitarian crisis and what the Trump administration considers a security emergency at the United States-Mexico border…The countries agreed to continue having conversations about ways to counter human trafficking, smuggling, organized crime and gangs, and to improve border security throughout the region.

Eileen Sullivan, “Trump Criticizes Central American Nations on Border Security,” The New York Times online, March 28, 2019