Kausha Luna's blog

Tillerson and Kelly Visit Mexico, Discuss Migration

By Kausha Luna, February 23, 2017

After DHS Secretary John Kelly visited Guatemala on Wednesday, he joined Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Mexico. There, the U.S. officials met with their counterparts and with Mexican President Peña Nieto to discuss bilateral relations, including migration issues.

This visit was highly anticipated, in light of Mexico's opposition to President Trump's restoration of immigration enforcement.

After a meeting on Thursday morning, Tillerson and Kelly joined Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong for a press briefing. Read more...

Mexico Responds to DHS Memos

By Kausha Luna, February 23, 2017

On Wednesday, Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso answered a series of questions from the press relating to the implementation memos recently published by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

One question was of particular interest: "What will Mexico do specifically, in addition to appealing to international organizations, to prevent the United States from deporting non-Mexican citizens to Mexico? What will [the government] do to keep Central Americans from coming on deportation planes, for example?" Read more...

DHS Secretary Kelly Meets with Guatemalan President

By Kausha Luna, February 23, 2017

On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly visited Guatemala to discuss issues of security, migration, and development.

Secretary Kelly was welcomed by President Jimmy Morales. According to a press release by Guatemala's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two officials "discussed the causes for migration, which in the case of Guatemala are mainly economic reasons." President Morales reiterated the commitment of the Guatemalan government to continue working on generating the economic and social development that the population needs. Read more...

Remittances from the U.S. Discourage Mexicans from Working

By Kausha Luna, January 25, 2017

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump spoke of the possibilities of blocking remittances to Mexico or imposing taxes on these transfers, in order to finance the border wall. In response, President Mexican Peña Nieto recently stated that "millions of Mexican families, principally those of low means, depend on these resources."

Mexico's concerns are underlined by the fact that remittances are the second highest source of income for the country, behind automotive exports. At the global scale, Mexico is the fourth-largest remittance recipient, following India, China, and the Philippines. Regionally, Mexico accounts for over one-third of remittances sent to Latin American (37.9 percent), making it the top recipient. Guatemala falls second in the region, and receives four times less than Mexico (9.2 percent). Read more...

Mexican President Outlines Objectives for Relations with New U.S. Administration

By Kausha Luna, January 24, 2017

On Monday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Mexico's top principles and objectives for its relationship with the United States under the new Trump administration. Read more...

Obama Administration Ends "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" Policy for Cubans

By Kausha Luna, January 13, 2017

Time after time the Obama administration had declared that it had no intentions of changing U.S. immigration policies towards Cubans. However, yesterday, President Obama announced the end of the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, and the lesser known Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.

Both the U.S. and Cuba called the end of these policies an important step in normalizing bilateral relations. President Obama's statement briefly states the implications of the end of the wet foot, dry foot policy: Read more...

Mexico & Central America Prepare for Trump Administration

By Kausha Luna, November 23, 2016

Earlier this week, the foreign ministers of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador gathered to coordinate actions on behalf of their citizens in the United States.

During a meeting hosted by Guatemala, the four countries agreed that their priority is to send a message of confidence and calm to their citizens in the United States. (It should be understood that the message is intended for deportable aliens.) The foreign ministers noted, given that the United States' immigration policy has not changed, the work of their respective embassies should be reinforced so they can "lobby with future authorities" in the United States. Read more...

Ecuadorian Illegals Denied Temporary Protected Status

By Kausha Luna, November 4, 2016

On Thursday, the government of Ecuador announced that the United States denied a request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for its illegal aliens there.

The Ecuadorian government made a request for TPS in May, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador's central coast in April. Read more...

Half a Century of Cuban Adjustment

By Kausha Luna, November 1, 2016

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA). A Cold War relic, the CAA and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy continue to function as pull factors for U.S.-bound Cuban illegal aliens. Read more...

Mexico and Honduras Announce Amnesties

By Kausha Luna, October 25, 2016

Mexico and Honduras announced last week they would grant amnesty to illegal aliens in their respective territories. Read more...

Mexico Sends Troops to Its Southern Border

By Kausha Luna, October 19, 2016

The Mexican government has sent military forces to guard its southern border with Guatemala, amidst the arrival of thousands of U.S. bound Haitians and Africans illegal aliens.

Mexico's Ministry of National Defense (Sedna) and Navy (Semar) deployed troops to the Guatemala-Mexico border as part of the Regional Border Operation 2016. The operation is taking place between October 17 and November 17 and aims to combat smuggling networks, among other criminal activities. Read more...

The Realities of Illegal Immigration Into and Out of Honduras

By Kausha Luna, September 28, 2016

An interview with the director of Honduras' National Institute for Migration (INM), Carolina Menjívar, provides an insight into the country's immigration flows and system.

The INM, created in 2014, is the agency responsible for controlling and regulating migration into and out of Honduras. Menjívar, an attorney, was appointed as director to elevate the status of the INM, given the corruption scandals that plagued the previous immigration agency. That prior agency, the General Migration Directorate, was abolished and its entire staff fired because it was actually facilitating alien smuggling.

Some of the more telling portions of the interview read as follows: Read more...

As Haitians Head North from Brazil, DHS Announces Resumption of Deportations

By Kausha Luna, September 27, 2016

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced last week the resumption of regular deportations to Haiti, amid a spike in Haitian arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the one hundred days prior to September 18, as many as 5,600 Haitian illegal aliens, accompanied by 150 minors, crossed Mexico's southern border and made their way north to Tijuana in order to seek asylum in the United States. Last week the Los Angeles Times reported that "numbers provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed that through July 31, a total of 3,060 Haitian 'inadmissibles' sought admittance to the United States through San Diego ports of entry during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year." Read more...

Guatemala to UN: Our Emigrants Aren't Refugees

By Kausha Luna, September 23, 2016

During the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants this week, Guatemala clarified that Guatemalans leave the country for economic reasons and family reunification, not because of violence or persecution. As such, they should not be treated as refugees. Read more...

Latin American Countries Call for an End to U.S. Immigration Policies Favoring Cubans

By Kausha Luna, August 30, 2016

On Monday, the Ecuadorian mission in Washington D.C. delivered a letter signed by nine Latin American foreign ministers expressing their concern about the negative effects of U.S. immigration policy across the region.

The letter, addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry, solicited the United States to evaluate the Cuban Adjustment Act and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which encourages illegal Cuban migration the United States. Read more...

Venezuelans Seek Amnesties, "Temporary" or Permanent

By Kausha Luna, August 10, 2016

On Monday, Venezuelan exiles in Florida urged American authorities to grant "migratory relief" to those fleeing Venezuela for "political reasons."

Jose Colina, president of the organization Politically Persecuted Venezuelans in Exile (or Veppex), told the Spanish news agency EFE, "Any measure taken is important because it will resolve the problems of many Venezuelans that are in limbo, in the shadows." Read more...

Haitians Pretend to Be Africans to Make Their Way to the U.S.

By Kausha Luna, August 4, 2016

Forty-five Haitians claiming to be African arrived in Tijuana last week, to then make their way to the United States.

The 45 Haitians were part of a group of 52 that were given a 30-day transit permit by Mexico's National Institute for Migration (INM). The permits were granted after the migrants were found on the side of the road in Sonora, where their smuggler abandoned them after their bus crashed. Read more...

Tim Kaine on Illegal Alien Minors

By Kausha Luna, July 28, 2016

After Hillary Clinton announced Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, he sat down to do an all-Spanish interview with Telemundo.

The portion of the interview revolving around illegal alien minors was particularly interesting. Read more...

Ecuador Deports Cubans and Cuba Blames U.S. Immigration Policies

By Kausha Luna, July 18, 2016

The Cuban government criticized U.S. immigration policies, yet again, after 75 Cubans were deported from Ecuador.

According to a press release by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cuban illegal aliens were deported back to the island in "strict compliance with the provisions of the legislation of both countries and existing international standards for this type of situation, with the primary aim of ensuring an orderly, regular and safe migration flow, while responding to the commitment to prevent defenseless human beings from becoming victims of human traffickers." Read more...

Ecuador: No Airlift for U.S.-bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, July 8, 2016

During a press conference on Tuesday, the Foreign Minister of Ecuador said that his country will not participate in the illegal migration of Cubans by providing them with an airlift to Mexico.

The press conference took place after the government of Ecuador and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees signed a cooperation agreement concerning the treatment of applications for refugee status in the country. Read more...

Panama Announces Another Illegal-Alien Amnesty

By Kausha Luna, June 27, 2016

Just four years after an amnesty was decreed by the prior administration, the current Panamanian president has enacted two more amnesties: one for illegal aliens in general and the other specifically for Chinese illegal aliens.

There are approximately 10,000 Chinese illegal aliens in Panama. Read more...

Canada to Welcome Mexicans with Open Arms

By Kausha Luna, June 24, 2016

Effective December 1, Canada will lift visa restrictions for Mexican travelers, according to reports.

The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, reported that the move comes with some conditions. The Canadian government wants assurances from Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto that Canada will not face a flood of Mexicans claiming refugee status. Read more...

What Obama's Immigration Policies Encourage

By Kausha Luna, June 13, 2016

On Wednesday, Telemundo (a Spanish language news network) published an interview with an "unaccompanied minor" abandoned by a coyote.

Ashlyn Bonilla, the Honduran five-year-old, was abandoned in Texas after crossing the border with Mexico. Her mother, Belkis Garcia, paid $4,500 to have her daughter smuggled into the United States. Garcia left her daughter behind in Honduras when Ashlyn was seven months old. Read more...

Latin America Becoming a Transit Route for Africans and Asians

By Kausha Luna, June 6, 2016

On Saturday, Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solis addressed the leaders of the member countries of the Association of Caribbean States, asking for solidarity and awareness on the migration issues in the region.

The member countries of the Association of Caribbean States (AEC) met in Cuba for its seventh summit. Read more...

U.S.-bound Africans Stranded in Costa Rica

By Kausha Luna, June 2, 2016

Hundreds of African illegal aliens are collecting at Costa Rica's northern border, hoping to cross into Nicaragua and continue on to the United States.

In November, the government of Nicaragua closed its border and increased its military presence in response to the flows of Cuban illegal aliens crossing from Costa Rica. Read more...

As Panama Closes Its Border, U.S.-Bound Cubans Now Stuck in Colombia

By Kausha Luna, May 30, 2016

As Panama concluded its final round of airlifts, approximately 100 Cuban migrants are now stranded in Turbo, Colombia.

Panama closed its southern border with Colombia on May 9, 2016.

According to Colombia's General Director of Immigration, these migrants are waiting for the Colombian government to offer them a direct flight to Mexico, as was done in Panama and Costa Rica. (See here and here.) Read more...

Palestinians and Syrians Buy Honduran Identities to Make Their Way to the U.S.

By Kausha Luna, May 27, 2016

Honduras' National Registry of Persons (RNP) confirmed that hundreds of Palestinian, Syrian, and citizens of other Arab nations were fraudulently registered as Honduran citizens. As a result, these foreigners can then acquire Honduran passports, which can be used to apply for visas to enter to the United States.

On Sunday, La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, revealed the illicit sales of Honduran identity documents to Palestinian and Syrian citizens. La Prensa's investigation was anchored on the case of a Palestinian, Kareen Samer Abdulhadi. Read more...

U.S.-bound Illegal Migration Through Costa Rica: Cubans and More

By Kausha Luna, May 20, 2016

Last Thursday, the Institute of World Politics here in Washington hosted a talk by Costa Rica's ambassador to the United States, Roman Macaya. His comments on migration will be of interest to readers.

Ambassador Macaya began by identifying the migration flows through the region as an issue that can't be ignored – most recently, the increasing flow of Cuban nationals. According to Macaya, Costa Rica saw 2,500 Cubans go through its territory in 2013; the number increased to 5,200 in 2014, and to 22,000 in 2015. He noted that such an uptick in migration from a single country is a significant trend, particularly for a small country like Costa Rica, smaller than West Virginia and with a population of 4.8 million people. Read more...

Mexico Gets a Better Deal than the United States on Cuban Deportations

By Kausha Luna, May 18, 2016

On May 1, amidst the transfer of thousands of visa-less Cubans from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border, an immigration agreement between Mexico and Cuba came into effect.

The Memorandum, reaffirmed in Mexico last November, aims to establish a "legal, ordered, and secure migratory flow" between Mexico and Cuba. The agreement was originally signed between the two countries in 2008. As such, the Memorandum establishes the following guidelines in relation to illegal immigration and returns: Read more...

Transfer of Visa-less Cubans to U.S. Border Continues

By Kausha Luna, May 10, 2016

Today, the first group of 238 Cuban migrants airlifted from Panama reached El Paso, Texas.

On Monday, the government of Panama initiated the airlift of about 4,000 U.S.-bound Cubans stranded in Panama to Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city opposite El Paso.

Earlier this year, Panama transferred about 1,300 islanders to the U.S.-Mexico border, after Nicaragua and then Costa Rica closed their borders to Cuban migrants without visas passing through on their way north. However, after the airlift was complete, Cuban illegal aliens continued to arrive at the Panama-Costa Rica border. Read more...