Kausha Luna's blog

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...

The UN's #RefugeeChildren Campaign

By Kausha Luna, May 4, 2016

On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a new digital campaign: #NiñezRefugiada or #RefugeeChildren. The campaign aims to explain the reasons why children and adolescents flee El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Read more...

U.S. Silent as Thousands of Cubans Are Delivered to the Border

By Kausha Luna, April 28, 2016

On Tuesday, State Department officials confirmed that the Obama administration has done nothing to prevent the transfer of thousands of Cuban migrants in Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Since Nicaragua closed its southern border and refused to let U.S.-bound islanders pass last year, Costa Rica and Panama have experienced a backlog of Cuban migrants in their territories. As a result, the Central American countries agreed to transfer over 8,000 stranded Cubans to Mexico so they could continue to the United States and take advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that grants them immediate legal status and welfare eligibility. Read more...

Guatemalan President on Illegal Immigration Focuses on Economics, Not Violence

By Kausha Luna, April 20, 2016

While visiting the United States this week, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales sat down with The New York Times Español to talk about a series of topics, including immigration.

The interviewer shifts the conversation from Guatemala's tourism opportunities to immigration by asking the following: "President, in the United States' presidential election there's one candidate that proposes to build a wall to stop illegal immigration, and there are others that say that there needs to be a more serious proposal, more comprehensive, to address the region's problems. First, how do you respond to Donald Trump's wall proposal? Second, what advice would you give the next U.S. President if there is a desire to curb irregular immigration?" Read more...

U.S.-Bound Africans Force Their Way into Costa Rica

By Kausha Luna, April 17, 2016

Cuban migrants are not the only ones trying to cross through Central America on their way to the United States. On Friday morning over 200 African illegal aliens were returned to Panama, but then they forced their way back into Costa Rican territory. Read more...

Costa Rica Convenes International Meeting to Deal with Cuban Migration

By Kausha Luna, April 7, 2016

On Wednesday, Costa Rica announced it has called for an international meeting to address the issue of Cuban migration through Central America to the United States. Read more...

Central American Minors Turn Down Refuge in Mexico

By Kausha Luna, April 4, 2016

Despite being offered refuge in Mexico, Central American minors continue to travel north to the United States.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch published a report which revealed that "less than one percent of the children who are apprehended by Mexican immigration authorities are recognized as refugees." Between January and November 2015 Mexican immigration authorities detained 16,869 unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Of those apprehended, only 52 received refugee status, which means only 0.3 percent received international protection in the first 11 months of 2015. Read more...

"Welcome Cubans to the Land of Liberty and Opportunity"
Once U.S. admits visa-less Cubans, non-profit group helps with work permits, welfare, bus tickets

By Kausha Luna, March 28, 2016
Once U.S. admits visa-less Cubans, non-profit group helps with work permits, welfare, bus tickets

Over the last couple of months thousands of Cuban migrants have been transferred from Costa Rica to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, from where they cross into Laredo, Texas. As the islanders leave the port of entry at Bridge 1 they are greeted by a banner immediately across the street, which reads "Welcome Cubans To The Land of Liberty and Opportunity."

The welcoming banner hangs from the offices of the non-profit organization Cubanos en Libertad (Cubans in Liberty). My colleague Jessica Vaughan and I were able to meet the man behind the organization during a recent visit to Laredo. Read more...

New Wave of Cuban Migrants Pile Up in Panama

By Kausha Luna, March 21, 2016

Just as Central America breathed a sigh of relief, more Cubans migrants are gathering at Panama's border with Costa Rica.

Last week Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico announced that the "successful" transfer of over 6,000 Cuban migrants to Mexico had concluded. The Cuban migrants then continue north to the United States to take advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy which stems from it. Read more...

Transfer of U.S.-Bound Cubans: A Failed Operation?

By Kausha Luna, March 16, 2016

As Costa Rica and Panama conclude the transfer of U.S.-bound Cubans to Mexico, it is worth asking: Was this plan a success or a failure? Read more...

Honduran Illegals Need Reminding that They Can't Get Asylum for Economic Reasons

By Kausha Luna, March 9, 2016

A Honduran lawyer in San Francisco reminded his countrymen this week that migrating to the United States for economic reasons does not qualify one for asylum. Read more...

Ambassador: U.S. Paying to Support Cuban Illegals in Costa Rica

By Kausha Luna, February 24, 2016

The United States has provided "significant" funds to Costa Rica to provide accommodations for U.S.-bound Cuban illegal aliens waiting to be able to continue northward.

This was revealed by U.S. Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney in an interview earlier this month with the Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion on the transfer of those Cubans to Mexico. Read more...

Mexican Tourists Working on California Marijuana Farms

By Kausha Luna, February 22, 2016

Mexican professionals and students are coming to the United States on tourist visas to work on marijuana farms and make quick money.

An article printed in the Excelsior, a Mexican newspaper, describes a "new migratory trend towards the United States." This new trend is an unprecedented flow of English-speaking Mexicans, aged 24 to 34, who travel to the United States on a tourist visa to take advantage of the marijuana harvest season in the "Emerald Triangle". The Emerald Triangle is in Northern California, made up of Medocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties, and is the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States and the world. Read more...

Pope Francis and Immigration in Mexico

By Kausha Luna, February 18, 2016

Pope Francis made his first trip to Mexico, arriving last Friday and leaving yesterday. Mexico as the most Catholic country in the Americas, as well as a country that receives and sends migrants, was eager for this visit.

The Pope was welcomed to the country by President Enrique Pena Nieto. During his six days in Mexico the Pope spoke on family, poverty, corruption, violence – and migration. Read more...

Democrats Get Immigration Wrong, Again

By Kausha Luna, February 12, 2016

Last night, the Democratic debate in Milwaukee became the latest example of the ill-informed immigration narrative propagated in the United States and the lack of interest in enforcement of immigration law.

During the debate Sen. Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton's vague support for deporting some Central Americans, claiming she was willing to deport "people who were fleeing drug violence and cartel violence," making an explicit reference to Honduras. Yet, violence is not the principal reason Honduran are choosing to migrate. Read more...

Direct Flights from Panama to Mexico for U.S.-bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, February 11, 2016

Cubans stranded in Panama have started to buy plane tickets for direct flights from Panama to Mexico, where they will continue on to the U.S. border.

About 1,300 Cubans were stranded at Panama's northern border with Costa Rica, after Costa Rica stopped granting temporary transit visas in December to Cubans passing through on their way to the United States. Costa Rica acted because Nicaragua, to its north, closed its border to U.S.-bound Cubans. Read more...

Survey Shows Main Cause of Honduran Emigration Is Economics, Not Violence

By Kausha Luna, February 9, 2016

According to a report by the Reflection, Research, and Communication Team (ERIC-SJ as it is known in Spanish), Hondurans primarily migrate for economic opportunities, not to flee violence. Read more...

Costa Rica Arranges Direct Flights to Mexico for Stranded U.S.-Bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna, February 8, 2016

On Friday, Costa Rica announced direct flights to Mexico will be available for Cuban migrants headed to the U.S. border. Read more...

"Mexico Is a Safe Place"

By Kausha Luna, February 4, 2016

During her visit to Arizona on Wednesday, Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs assured that Mexico is a safe place.

Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said, "All countries issue [travel] warnings...These alerts reflect situations in small geographical areas." At the beginning of this month the U.S. State Department issued travel warnings for some cities and tourist locations in Mexico. Massieu reiterated that Mexico was a safe place for investment and visitors. Massieu emphasized, "The fact that each year more U.S. citizens visit us shows that Mexico is a safe place." Read more...

Central America and Mexico Agree to Continue Transfer of Cubans to U.S.

By Kausha Luna, January 26, 2016

Last week, the Central American countries and Mexico agreed to continue the transfer of Cubans from Costa Rica to Mexico, from where they will continue to the United States. Approximately 8,000 Cuban migrants were stranded in Costa Rica in November 2015 after Nicaragua closed its southern border and refused to let the Cubans pass. Read more...

First Cuban Migrants from Costa Rica Reach the U.S.

By Kausha Luna, January 16, 2016

The dozen or so Cuban migrants arrived in Laredo, Texas, Friday, part of the first group of 180 Cubans flown from Costa Rica to El Salvador and bused through Guatemala to Mexico. Read more...

First Group of Stranded U.S.-bound Cubans Reaches Mexico

By Kausha Luna, January 14, 2016

On Wednesday, the first group of 180 Cuban migrants flown out of Costa Rica reached Mexico. From there they will make their way north to the United States.

After Nicaragua closed its border with Costa Rica and refused passage to the islanders in November, Costa Rica set out to find an exit plan for approximately 8,000 Cubans who were on its territory. After several failed attempts, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the International Organization of Migration (IOM), agreed to fly an initial group of the Cuban migrants to El Salvador, from where they would be bused through Guatemala and to the southern border of Mexico. Read more...

First Group of U.S.-Bound Cubans Will Leave Costa Rica January 12

By Kausha Luna, January 8, 2016

On Wednesday, the Costa Rican government announced the first group of U.S.-bound Cuban migrants will be flown to El Salvador on January 12, allowing them to continue their journey north.

According to an agreement between Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the approximately 8,000 Cubans – stranded in Costa Rica after Nicaragua refused to let them pass – will be flown to El Salvador and bused through Guatemala and to Mexico. Once in Mexico, they will have to make their own way to the Rio Grande. The islanders are expected to cover the costs of the transfer. Read more...