The common thread of our report this month is an exceedingly troubling one—violence and abuse suffered by vulnerable people in countries of origin, on the migrant journey, and at the U.S.–Mexico border. The stories here cover armed government crackdowns of demonstrations in Nicaragua; obstacles to asylum in Mexico; and the fatal shooting of a young Guatemalan women by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
- State-Backed Violence in Nicaragua: In recent months, the repressive regime in Nicaragua has reacted with armed violence to squelch peaceful demonstrations by its citizens against government policies. In one instance, approximately 5,000 demonstrators sought refuge from para-police at the Jesuit university in Managua, and many were injured in the ensuing attack. Over the past few months, an estimated 75 individuals have been killed by para-military and police forces, and more than 850 people have been wounded. Such lethal aggression and intimidation is a major source of migration as people flee the extreme violence around them. Read more about these recent events and their broader context in this report from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and United States, condemning the violence and calling for justice: http://jesuits.org/news-detail?TN=NEWS-20180531102440.
- Obstacles to Asylum in Mexico: With more Central Americans seeking asylum in Mexico and negotiations to make it a “safe third country,” it’s important to examine the inadequate resources of the asylum system there and the abuses many migrants face within as well as outside of it. Of great concern to the KBI, migrants endure discrimination, various crimes, and death threats en route only to find a lack of law enforcement support and poor immigrant services once they arrive at their destination. Like the U.S. and at its behest, Mexico is funding border security and deterrence measures over investments in the asylum system. Read more about these obstacles to asylum and the treatment of migrants in Mexico here: http://lawg.org/our-publications/the-advocate/71-general/2046-mexico-and-its-asylum-and-immigration-policies-have-recently-received-much-attention-thanks-to-president-trumps-fixation-on-the-migrant-caravan-an-annual-demonstration-in-which-central-americans-garner-safety-in-numbers-and-travel-together-to-the-us-m.
- BP Shooting of Guatemalan Migrant: Yet another fatal shooting at the hands of a U.S. Border Patrol (BP) agent—there have been 40 due to BP lethal force since 2011 (DHS)—highlights the urgent need for better accountability and more comprehensive training of agents, agency improvements advocated by the KBI. Claudia Patricia Gómez González was 20 years old, a vibrant, engaging woman who left the dire poverty of her Guatemalan village to reunite with her boyfriend in Virginia, find a job, and earn money for university. She had plans to work toward a brighter future when her life was cut short a mile north of the Texas–Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have not provided her grieving family with answers, and questions of justice remain open. Read about Claudia’s tragic, senseless death, and about her life here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/02/guatemala-texas-rio-bravo-border-claudia-gomez.