Central America

Some 86,000 Hondurans remain in limbo after the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, couldn't decided whether to extend or cancel their permission to stay in the U.S. But the department has given about 5,300 Nicaraguans notice that they have just over a year before they have to leave.

The two groups are covered under Temporary Protected Status which allows them to live and work in the U.S. after a storm ripped through their home countries while they were already here.

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Amy Bracken/PRI

You’ve heard about unaccompanied minors from Central America coming to the US. But many more of those youths fleeing violence and poverty stop short of our border, staying in Mexico. There, many lack any support and are vulnerable to exploitation, including sex trafficking.

In the last decade, Mexico has stepped up efforts to address the problem, busting traffickers and providing services for former victims. But post-trafficking, not everyone is able to move on with their lives.

Adrianne Gonzalez / WLRN News

Participants in the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America were welcomed to the Florida International University (FIU) Modesto Maidique campus on Thursday by protesters. 

Special interest groups and members of the FIU community gathered outside the Graham Center to protest against the Trump administration and FIU’s decision to allow the State Department to use the university grounds to host the conference.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Central American leaders and U.S. Cabinet members are in Miami to figure out how to curtail illegal immigration from Central America. But the big question is whether President Trump is behind the effort to help the beleaguered region.

Central America is a major source of two problems that greatly affect and divide the U.S. – drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Which is why the U.S. and Mexico are hosting a major conference here this week on rebuilding Central American prosperity and security.

Andrew Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I don’t usually feel sorry for Central American heads of state. Too many of them, right-wing or left-wing, have done their damnedest to perpetuate the image of the corrupt, tin-pot strongman.

Presidencia de Honduras

Illegal immigration from Central America remains a big U.S. concern - enough so that a conference begins in Miami Thursday at which Central American leaders and U.S. cabinet members will try to hash out how to pull the region out of its violent and impoverished tail spin.

Human Rights Advocates Voice Concerns About Central America Conference

Jun 14, 2017
Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence are all expected to visit Miami this week for the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America.

 

But some civil society organizations say they’re concerned human rights aren’t a big enough part of the discussion. More than 100 organizations have signed an open letter to Tillerson asking him to consider human rights.

 

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Shuka Kalantari

A year ago, Franci Machado started feeling really sick with nausea and vomiting. She went to the hospital and then again when her symptoms worsened a month later. Doctors told her she had thyroid cancer. And that she was two months pregnant.

Machado, a 26-year-old single mother, needed chemotherapy to save her life, but that could kill the fetus. Under Nicaraguan law, that’s considered an abortion. So doctors refused to treat Machado.

Courtesy Rolling Stone via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I’d like to take acclaimed film actor and ridiculed crime writer Sean Penn to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which until recently suffered the highest homicide rate of any city on the planet.

I’d like him to meet the families of the thousands of victims murdered by the maras, or narco-mafias, that are tied to Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

the Miami Herald

The mayors of Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami and a Hialeah commissioner are worried. They all say the county's not financially prepared for the imminent arrival of thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica.

Last week,  a deal was made to airlift the  Cuban migrants stuck in Costa Rica to El Salvador so they can travel through Mexico to the U.S.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez thinks it should be the job of the federal government to take care of the migrants.  

The United States is planning an operation to deport recently arrived Central American families who have ignored removal orders from immigration judges, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the plan.

The operation would at least in part affect Central Americans who fled violence in their home countries but were denied asylum in the United States.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

See the full series at WLRN.org/migrationmaze and see all the photos at MiamiHerald.com.

IXTEPEC, MEXICO   |   At a shelter in this small municipality in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca, psychologist Miguel Gil Reyes gathers a group of new arrivals to share information on services available for them here and at various points across the nation.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Despair wrought by corruption scandals also drives migration to the U.S.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Hondurans don’t get riled easily. And they’re not known for takin’ it to the streets.

But this has been a year of loud and angry torchlight protest marches in Honduras — and for good reason. The impoverished Central American country is wrestling with perhaps the worst government corruption scandal in its history.

Or as Honduran protesters like Eldan Cruz put it: “Corruption on such a criminal level it’s basically sociopathic behavior.”

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

El Edén in Honduras is no paradise for those on trek to the U.S.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    It seems the entire world is wrestling with immigration emergencies today. And lest you think the western hemisphere’s crisis is over, consider the look on Oscar Ortega’s face.

He just got a WhatsApp message that made his eyes pop.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Reform and beefed-up police presence is making Hondurans feel safer.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    On June 26, 2014, 13-year-old Andrea Argeñal had just dropped her young cousins off at school in the Rivera Hernández section of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. Relatives say it’s the sort of favor she frequently did for her family.

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