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Central America

Media Advisory: WRC at 71st UN General Assembly Events

As world leaders gather at the United Nations for the first high-level summit on Refugess and migrants, the Women’s refugee commission asserts that all responses to refugees and migrants must protect the rights and improve the lives of women, children, and youth.


WHAT: New York, NY - On Monday, September 19, 2016, the 71st UN General Assembly will convene Heads of State and leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector at the first high-level summit focused on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. This landmark meeting aims to bring countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach. 

WHEN: Friday, September 16th through Tuesday, September 20th. WRC will support the following events listed below:

WRC Applauds Clinton Commitment to End Family Detention

Hillary Clinton Renews Commitment to Ending Inhumane Family Detention, Private Prisons

Women’s Refugee Commission applauds Clinton’s announcement, urges Obama Administration to end these practices now.

VIDEO: Shadow Summit: The U.S. Response to Central American Refugees

The United States and other nations hosted a leaders summit on September 20, 2016 to discuss the world refugee crisis and how nations can increase their commitments to refugee protection worldwide. In a side event, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) hosted the Shadow Summit: U.S. Response to Central American Refugees, a panel discussion examining U.S. policy response to unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America.

Katharina Obser, WRC Senior Program Officer of Migrant Rights and Justice Program joined fellow panelists Dr. Allen Keller, Director, Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture; Karen Lucas, Associate Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association; and Elvis Garcia Callejas, Migration Counselor, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and Former Unaccompanied Minor. 

A video of the panel discussion is now available for viewing (below).

WRC Represented at Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC)

On Friday, Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission will join fellow members of the Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC) in a public meeting at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to discuss recommended reforms to the family detention program.

The Obama administration’s response to Central American refugees is wrong

We cannot and should not stop people from fleeing violence to save their children’s lives, but we can ensure that the process through which they reach safety is orderly and efficient and complies with fundamental American values.

Seeking asylum in U.S. immigration courts is a lot like playing roulette

Katharina Obser at the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York said that eliminating immigration detention altogether could make it easier for asylum applicants to find an attorney and prepare for the legal process.

“To [go through the process] alone, without the assistance of an expert immigration attorney, it’s nearly impossible,” Obser said. “It is such a complicated process that, often, people are forced to navigate on their own without speaking English and without having access to even basic legal information, let alone being able to prepare a legal case in front of an immigration judge where there is opposing counsel.”

Illegal Immigration Is Changing. Border Security Is Still Catching Up

Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights at the Women's Refugee Commission, says the administration's push to discourage people from coming to the United States has, instead, backfired. Federal courts soon chipped away at the scope of the administration's immigrant family detention practices.

And according to Brané, the new border statistics only confirm that Central Americans will continue to find a way to the United States, no matter what stands before then.

"If you're in a burning house, you're going to find a way out no matter how many obstacles are put in your way," Brané said.

Immigration agency is expanding family detention facilities

“I don’t know what they’re thinking, to be honest with you,” Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program for the Women’s Refugee Commission, said of ICE’s renewal of the Dilley contract. “I find it odd, and it certainly is not setting things up for the new president in any way, whoever that is, to move forward with their own plan.”

Cómo responder al fenómeno migratorio

Por Tatiana Brofft, Ana Macouzet y Marcela Valdivia
Julio 2019

Leer en ingles.

El ascenso político de Donald Trump ha cimbrado la relación entre Estados Unidos y México. El objetivo del presidente Trump de limitar al máximo la inmigración a ese país es una de las principales fuentes de tensión. Por más de un año, su interés en alcanzar un acuerdo de tercer país seguro ha sido un elefante blanco en la relación bilateral. Tanto el gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto como el de Andrés Manuel López Obrador manejaron las conversaciones en torno a este tema con secrecía, pero presuntas filtraciones a Político y The Washington Post en mayo y julio de 2018 lo colocaron en la agenda pública. Las notas periodísticas desataron la oposición de líderes de opinión, así como la de organizaciones de derechos humanos y protección a migrantes.

Ante las recientes amenazas estadounidenses de imponer aranceles a las importaciones mexicanas, México acordó que en 90 días disminuiría la migración mediante el reforzamiento del control migratorio. De no ser exitoso, México se comprometió a considerar un acuerdo de tercer país seguro, evidenciando que había sido acorralado hacia lo que hasta entonces había calificado como inaceptable.

Ver el artículo completo en Foreign Affairs Latino America.

How to respond to migration

By Tatiana Brofft, Ana Macouzet y Marcela Valdivia
July 2019

This article first appeared in Foreign Affairs Latino America (in Spanish)

The political rise of Donald Trump has rocked the relationship between the United States and Mexico. President Trump’s efforts to severely limit immigration to the U.S. is one of the main sources of tension. For over a year, his attempts to reach a safe third-country agreement has been the white elephant in the bilateral relation. The governments of both Enrique Peña Nieto and Andrés Manuel López Obrador kept secret the conversations on this topic, but alleged leaks to Politico and The Washington Post in May and July 2018 placed it on the public agenda. The news stories unleashed opposition from opinion leaders, as well as from human rights and migrant rights organizations.

In the face of recent U.S. threats to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, Mexico agreed that in 90 days it would reduce immigration by strengthening its immigration control. If it failed, Mexico committed to consider a safe third-country agreement, revealing that it had been coerced into what up to that point it had defined as unacceptable.