Immigrants from both countries were granted the temporary protection from deportation in 1998, in the wake of widespread destruction in their home countries from Hurricane Mitch. The TPS has been extended since then, and many migrants have lived in the U.S. for over 20 years.
The lack of determination for Honduras is surprising, and gives little indication how the administration might act with regards to the 200,000 Salvadorans and 50,000 Haitians whose TPS status is due to expire early next year, notes the Washington Post. (See yesterday's post.) The decision was not the worst-case scenario for immigration advocates, nor does it satisfy hardliners who say the TPS programs were never meant to be so long-term.
Reports until yesterday focused on a recommendation from the State Department to terminate the program for Central Americans and Haitians. (See yesterday's post.) Countering that vision, a DHS official last week argued to extend protections for Central Americans, pointing to their positive workforce participation. John Kelly-appointee James Nealon said the returnees would put “a huge burden on employment” in home countries, something, he says, would be akin to "working against ourselves," in reference to U.S. efforts to stem Central American migration by improving local conditions, reports Breitbart News.
Honduran and Salvadoran authorities have pushed the U.S. to extend the program, arguing that the return of so many migrants would be catastrophic to their home countries. (See for example, June 14's post, about the Central America summit held in Miami. In September a Salvadoran delegation led by the country's foreign minister lobbied Washington lawmakers to extend TPS and DACA program for migrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Indeed, an Honduran diplomatic mission in Washington last week met with Nealon as part of efforts to push for TPS's extension, reports El Heraldo. Yesterday, Honduran Foreign Minister María Dolores Agüero promised to maintain lobbying efforts, reports El Heraldo, separately. Honduras is headed towards a general election later this month.
The Miami Herald argues in favor of extending TPS status for the nearly 300,000 Central American and Haitian recipients. Forcing them to leave would affect jobs in the U.S., hitting remittances they send home and forcing them to compete in economies that would have a hard time absorbing them. The paper also notes that a bill in Congress would provide a legal route to residency for many of these migrants.
Breitbart argues that the surprise Trump administration move is a negotiating tactic to negotiate immigration policy with Democrats in Congress.
- Health conditions are worsening in Venezuela and access to treatment is in crisis, reports the Miami Herald. Hospital bed availability is far below what is needed, and supplies of all kinds are lacking.
- Venezuela's long economic crisis has made it a source for cheap professional labor, reports the Wall Street Journal, profiling how programers are able to sell their services abroad and earn a comparative fortune.
- An interview with a Colombian narcotics trafficker cooperating with authorities provides lots of juicy details on the drug trade. But the vital role of government corruption in facilitating shipments is of particular relevance, emphasizes InSight Crime.
- The Mexican Zetas drug cartel used forced recruitment of teens, forced disappearances and incineration of adversaries in prisons among its many strategies for territorial control in Coahuila state, reports the BBC.
- Latin America's economies are growing again after the declines of recent years -- but unemployment continues to rise. Some analysts point to labor substitution (mechanization), but in Nueva Sociedad Ernesto Talvi argues that its actually due to an "overabundance of capacity."
- In Colombia, the economic benefits of peace may be more elusive than hoped, argues Leonardo Villar in Americas Quarterly. "Without minimizing the importance of peace for the people living there, the immediate macroeconomic impact of peace in rural communities will likely pass unnoticed by the economy at large. The most plausible estimates of the aggregate benefits of peace on GDP growth for the next few years are in the low tenths of a percentage point."
- Nearly a year after Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht reached a landmark corruption settlement agreement with U.S., Swiss and Brazilian authorities, Matthew Taylor analyzes how well law enforcement and judicial processes are resolving the allegations against high power individuals in nearly a dozen Latin American countries. "Latin American judicial systems – long rigged to protect local economic and political elites – remain the principal obstacle to accountability. The Odebrecht settlement signaled that a new day has arrived: new international norms and law enforcement across multiple jurisdictions are likely to continue to upset the cozy arrangements that have protected the region’s elites from corruption revelations for decades. But true accountability will only come when local courts and prosecutors are empowered to effectively punish corrupt elites. That implies changes in legal procedure, new laws, and most importantly, political will," he writes at Aula Blog.
- In the midst of Brazil's rising levels of violence, few citizens have faith in the security forces tasked with reverting the trend. A recent poll showed that 62 percent of citizens fear violence by the force — up from 48 percent five years ago, reports the Los Angeles Times. And, two-thirds of Rio residents have "more fear than confidence" in the military police, according to a recent Datafolha poll. Fewer than one in 10 respondents believe that the force is "very efficient" in preventing and combating crime, reports InSight Crime. And last week the Justice Minister top Rio de Janeiro police leadership is associated with organized crime.
- Brazil is quietly becoming an important military ally for China in the region, writes Evan Ellis at Global Americans. "As the U.S. works to advance its policy objectives and interests in the Western Hemisphere, the enormous potential of Brazil as a partner, and the cost of ignoring it, is often overlooked."
- Uber appears to have won a temporary reprieve in a regulatory battle in Brazil, the ride-sharing app's second-largest market. Last minute Senate amendments watered down a bill that would have imposed licensing requirements and affected Uber's business model, reports the New York Times. Uber went on a full-out public relations blitz against taxi union efforts to limit app-based services. Now the bill goes back to the Lower Chamber.
- Researchers at the World Resources Institute have found that tenure-secure indigenous forestlands provided significant global carbon benefits. In Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia alone they say this is worth up to $34 billion over the next 20 years – equivalent to taking between nine million and 12.6 million passenger vehicles off the roads for a year, reports the Guardian.
- Haitian author Edwidge Danticat writes about her visit to Grenada, and ponders the impact of this year's hurricanes on the region, in the New York Times.
- In a New York Times Español op-ed, I write about how urbanization policies for a Buenos Aires shanty-town threaten long-term residents with potential displacement. I argue that officials must find policies that balance much-needed investment with legal protections for residents. Integration must not be eradication by another name.