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tv   DHS Secretary Mc Aleenan Others Discuss Migration Policy  CSPAN  October 7, 2019 1:59pm-3:26pm EDT

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professional, i've dedicated my career to protecting the rights to free speech and all the values we hold dear in america from all threats so -- >> bullshit. [laughter] >> we'll go ahead and try one more time, but otherwise i'm going to go back to work and --? >> [inaudible] [inaudible conversations] >> we can post it on your web site. >> colleagues, you're invoking democracy. democracy requires dialogue. it requires listening. it requires a two-way street. the secretary has agreed to take questions and answers. we are robbing time from the period of questions and answers where we can engage with the public. could we please listen to his remarks and then have a chance to question him, including people who disagree with him may question him. >> [inaudible]
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>> secretary mcaleenan e-mailed his speech to press after he left with a note attached. and we're going to baa -- to go back to the conference with a panel discussion, possible regional approaches to solving it. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> to send volunteers to texas to the two major detention facilities that are housing women with children, detaining women and children to help prepare the women for credible fear interviews and to do other work to assist the families. ..
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in our hemisphere and in particular, it's examining one of the main things that what they're looking at is this see third country issue whichbrings us to our panel . because we thought it would be a good opportunity to hear from these experts with respect to the humanitarian and migration crisis that has been going on in central america and the need for regional approaches. we have three experts who will give us different analysis to help address different parts of this problem and that is i've asked anthony fontez, an expert on human insecurity in central america to talk to us about those challenging issues, what is the
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insecurity situation? what are the challenges in trying to address it . there have been some attempts , not major attempts but steve is the expert and i'm going to let him talk about those things. our community would benefit more from understanding what's going on in the region in these countries in particular. then fortunately we also have marie meyer whose end expert on migrant rights at the washington office and she has been laboring for many years in -- focusing on the protection systems in mexico to the extent it exists and she can talk to us about what that's like. you heard this morning that because of the new transit, the third policy that the trump administration has put out more recently to try to
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deter asylum-seekers from coming to the united states, a policy is that people in transit are now have to apply for asylum on their way. that's what the goal is to reedit so we will hear about what that means in a country which has had, well, we will hear from the experts. i won't say more and finally fortunately we have carol who is the deputy regional representative for the us and caribbean. at the un and high commissioner for refugees process. and she will be talking about the regional approach, the approaches i should say that would benefit the abilities of our entire international community to protect refugees who are fleeing for a very serious harm. both in terms of the refugee
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convention and putting a declaration which extends protection to refugees whoare freeing from very serious violent civil war . this is a regional crisis. there are central american countries that have received many refugees as well and who are trying to or could use some help inaddressing those needs . so thank you very much everybody for coming. we will have time for of course q and a so let us begin with lesser fontez will talk to us about the security situation in the country is particularly focused on in central america and thank you for being here >> thank you so much for putting on this amazing venue. it's one of the great methods of confirmation happening in america so astory , in july 2016 i spoke with a
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20-year-oldguatemalan man will not who's looking to cross from the united states . for people like me he said, my country is like a cage with no way out. we are waiting with dozens of other central americans on freight trains and we allknow this journey is dangerous . we might fail, we might even die but these are scope at the end of it. so in the little time that i have i'm going to try to get an overview of the forces that have made people like wilmer feel so trapped and hopeless in their native lands and what might be done to resolve these issues. although in my initial thought i'll probably about the challenges and get to some of those solutions in the q&a. all right. so i'm going to focus on the making of central american cage to push the metaphor. to understand the complex race to poverty, violence and todrive immigration from the region .
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my training focusing on everything lived experience of extreme time insecurity and carry and in the stock i'm going to try to lay my fieldwork with some of the macro processes that help explain general transit immigration over the last couple of decades so the evolution of violence and insecurity, the persistence of poverty in the region and how poverty and into's insecurity intertwined and pushing individual cases about migration trends in general. so the first thing to understand about the region is that northern triangles long been a place where globally circulating violence insecurity seem to become distilled and with terrifying intensity. so what is now known as the old violence in people studying the northern triangle at the height of the cold war over armed military governments in guatemala and el salvador trained, funded and getting covered by the united states engage in massive atrocities against mostly civilian populations
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who are suspected of supporting insurgencies against illegal governments. these insurgency into being because regional elites refuse to allow citizenry to engage in the most basic political activities from elections, forming unions or learning to read. rather than being the cause of the social movements calling for division of economic and political opportunities coming from a diverse range of voices , the over armed militaries in the 1970s and 80s resorted to mass disappearance of sorts campaign that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and bloodied theater was guatemala where i've done most of my work. they strove the first massive waves of refugees out of the region seeking refuge in mexico and the united states and even though they been engaged for a long time i think of parallels and echoes from that time with the situation that central americans face now although now the kinds of violence that is taking place are very different. since the end of the cold
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war, the rise of what scholars call the new violence is has really hit hard in the northern triangle , honduras, guatemala and el salvador. across latin america democracy has been accompanied by the rise of criminal chaos and in the words of as described by many observers in the region and this new violence is difficult to pick apart. the legacy of armed conflicts are important based on the cold war order. and armed conflict did not bring peace as we would imagine it so through the 1990s guatemala, el salvador and honduras thought sharp rise in criminal violence concentrated in large urban centers, guatemala center, san salvador, etc. and this new violence in many ways is far harder to diagnose . government officials and outside observers dated digital homicide attends and most of the 21st century honduras registered the
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highest number of murders proportional to the population in the world coming in the top five consistently until the last few years where things have gotten moderately better at least in the counting of dead bodies. but in a sense, here's the 20 18th homicide map of guatemala. you can see the concentration of highest murder rates in border regions and i'll talk about that in a second, it has much to do with the drug trade and the competition between different organizations or control of lucrative border crossings. el salvador is primarily affected by gang-related violence although again, the gangs themselves are not as clear-cut as the media and many outside observers and law enforcement tend to be. violence is more equally spread the country and then honduras is in many ways in between guatemala and el salvador in terms of who is driving violence.
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major issues of gang violence in urban centers as well as along major drug trafficking corridors in the northern western parts of the country. so homicide count is all well and good as a way of gauging what's happening in terms of violence but in a sense the body counts obscure more than they reveal. as hard and fast as the numbers may see what makes this violence so terrifying to so many is his profound uncertainty. across the region less than fivepercent of violent crimes ever make it to trial , making the northern triangle a great place to commit murder to paraphrase a observation. forces of order and disorder often make distorted reflections of each other so i guess the law appears helpless and at worst complicit making the list of suspects of murder and extortion, kidnapping and robbery long and badly defined and police exchange places with kidnapping rings,
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gangs and so on that they're supposedto be bringing to justice . it's more a massacre, torture, dismemberment and other spectacular forms of violence that are literally made or media consumption, make murder register far and wide beyond a particular locale so the cacophony of public reaction, sensationalist media reporting, politicians grandstanding the rumors and violence circulating in communities works the fear of this violence into every realm of public life. so this uncertainty, this general sense that no one is to be trusted i think explains why for example even as homicide rates across the region apparently dropped especially if you check out this image up here, essentially cut in half a number of people murdered per hundred thousand per year between 2013 and 2018. general levels of fear, paranoia and per se pervasive insecurity remains very high.
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in fact almost untouched but general population has no trust that their governments can effectively combat climb much less count the dead and understand the statements in the underworld coexist in the symbiotic relationships with each other . so especially in honduras and guatemala there's a strong sense estate agents are key players in the reproduction of impurity as they are with estimates of the proportion of police and organized crime ranging between 30 and 60 percent of the total area this makes for a particularly volatile and powerful island actor ecosystem, the those at the top are widely considered to be drug trafficking organizations. this is a map from 2016. i couldn't find one from more recently that was at telling but things haven't changed much. the estimation of the number of noncommercial boating incidents connecting the southern cone to the northern
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triangle and it's a way of measuring the amount of cocaine goingthrough the region . so the impunity that criminal actors especially drug trafficking organizations enjoy is truly awe-inspiring . and the drug traffickers are probably at the height of the top end of the violent actor foodchain in this part of the world area over the last 30 years us war on drugs is with the flow of cocaine and a host of other commodities through under us and guatemala away from the caribbean even since 2006 of mexico. and into primarily honduras and guatemala. today police report upwards of 90 percent of cocaine consumed by the insatiable north american nose comes through honduras and guatemala and territory area and the profits and power of drug trafficking circulate at every level .
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so this is an image drawnfrom the work of my friend stephen dudley at inside prime , and it details the connection between a man in the bunch of la who was one of the lead traffickers until this capture five or six years ago in the western part of guatemala. and the details the level of his interaction and involvement and infiltration of the various levels of government , civil society, evangelical churches as well as the local politics and the local businesses as well another example , this is the potatoes, one of the major drug trafficking organizations in honduras and it's also been captured and leaders extradited although the campaign strategy doesn't work and we can talk more about that if we want to it only leads to more violence and competition between the surviving groups that are there. it's a multibillion-dollar industry so picking up the leaders only makes the underlings more ambitious
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area but this also details the circulation of power and influence between drug trafficking organizations and the powers that be in those particular countries. particularly salient example, this is juan orlando hernandez, he's a us partner in the signing of a ridiculous third country agreement which howard will talk about. also his brother is facing trial in new york involving narco trafficking and has much talk that he's one orlando or as he's known in honduras hobo has received at least $1 million in funding traffickers associated with his brother allegedly. all right. the other sort of most, although one of the most visible violent actors in central america of course our day and this is probablyan image that many of you have seen . this is since the early 90s,
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transnational gangs like ms 13, and queen street after the very face of crime in the region and those of you who don't know they're born out of circular migration between the us and central america in the 1970s through the 90s and ms 13 embodied extortion machines in the central america. especially in honduras, ms 13 is an important player in urban drug market institution and some people say taking the place of the drug trafficking organizations that were taken out by the usda efforts, sort of subsumed at a higher level of involvement in transnational traffic of cocaine. so gangs like ms 13 and those are an urban phenomenon but as part of my work, much of my work is been involved in tracing the evolution of gangs but if you want to understand the evolution of gangs is a way to understand
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evolution of violence is to meet that phantasmagorical spectacular image of a tattoo gang member who resides behind bars which by and large is a much smaller part of the gang population than it has been because of increased enforcement against people who have faced tattoos and so forth and these days an important thing to understand, gangs are embedded in the communities over which they rule you can't fall apart the police, local community and the operation of the gangs which is one of the reasons that it makes it such a terrifying phenomenon because literally it's neighbors andkilling each other . so this is the gang extortion network, some 36 people into the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of incarcerated gang members involved in the extortion network . another gang member, member of ms 13. another young man that's
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striking about this picture is he has a prototypical gang have to face but he has an image of himself painted with his patrick father. so these gangs have become the face of crime as i said and an important criminal actors ordering areas they control but they're also a smokescreen area it's important to remember. a sector invoked over and over again by political actors distract populace, distract outside observers from a host of structural factors at the out-of-control insecurity. there's a tendency to call the violence that's happening today nonstate violence and i think it's a dangerous misnomer because or even nonpolitical violence. it's a mistake to imagine the state of guatemala and honduras as having no part in perpetuating the violence taking place today.
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whether it's through institutional weakness or outright complicity, agents of the state play key roles in eating off of violent impunity that drives outmigration. there's literally almost no way todraw the state apart from the criminal underworld . all right. so now poverty. poverty in the region remains as pressing is not quite as widespread as it was in the 1970s and 80s when as i said before massive social movements for workers and subsistence farmers help drive armed insurrection. this issue is there are no formal market jobs. in 2018 more than 300,000 central americans join a labor pool on the less than 4000 jobs created by the economy. these are concentrated almost entirely in urban areas so that relegates the vast majority of central americans especially rural central americans. the economies themselves depend upon the export of a
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few commodities and the employee tiny fraction of the workforce area that we're talking sugarcane, some manufactured goods and one rising export industry is call centers for us businesses employ deportees because of their actions in english always an opportunity, right? so this general reliance on a few commodities meant for export to primarily us markets have created society between small and rich elite groups at the top and masses of the bottom with a tiny sliver of desperate middle-class clinging in the middle. overall the region is stunning and itappears to be worsening . so one important pressure valve has always been for the last 30 years or so and growing in importance, remittances from the us . a recent study by mello
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roscoe the inter-american dialogue found that remittances make up 50 percent of household incomes one and three families in the region. one can only imagine what will happen when that lifeline starts slimming down if the present administrations actions against immigrationscontinue . so you know, this issue of this dichotomy between asylum-seekers and economic migrants is something that plays into the discourse against immigrationand people are just coming to take jobs . there's this, it's too many people are going because of economic reasons but another man from honduras was traveling to tabasco state in mexico said i either integrate or listento my children cry because they are hungry . what do you do? i don't have a viable answer. so how do they incline?
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one in four northern triangle citizens would like him, more than actually do and those that do are the poorest ofthe poor . those people can't afford journey and the reason they do integrate our diverse pendingon the context . so while pressing poverty especially in rural zones of guatemala is an important driver, violence and poverty and light in a variety of ways that is the state in each migrants story. so one phenomenon i think that there's looking at is the ways that internal displacement because of violence often precedes the decision to actually leave the country, a decision that no one takes lightly. so one of the reasons is that for example, here we go. this is a recent study from honduras. the people who lose the place in their particular neighborhood because of whether it's gang action or
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in some cases it's because people are being made landless because of multinational corporation projects, once socioeconomic well-being is so tied to familial networks and to the ability to be able to be taken care of by family and social networks inthe place where you are from , for poor central americans who can't leave where you live and go live somewhereelse in the country, that's not viable . there's no way to take care of your family i've heard stories of people who return to this place by extortions, by a gang left the neighborhoods, tried to live in a rural area with aunt or cousin or extended family sometimes, eventually they were out there welcome. they could no longer sustain themselves with their family and had to leave the country area story, where does that fit into asylum protocols even before the trumpet ministration area a difficult thing to sell because in many ways asylum walls are a tiny one that holds up the big wall but it's that accommodation of poverty and
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sustained collective widespread poverty that makes poverty condition and experience with violence this that spark that drives migration area so i'll just end by saying that the caging of central america, the stage is only being reinforced by present policies. we're not in a sense reinforcing bars in that case by every metric imaginable. running, expanding and intensifying the force that drives migration in the first place so that conditions that violate the work here occasionally and will only be result of long-term engagement thatinvolves the un and other actors across the region . i've been wrong about those things .'s thank you and we will ensure there will be some good questions aboutthat follow-up . before i ask maureen, a bit of housekeeping which is that for those who have to go abroad, i know that apparently not allowed, if you have would you please take them from the edges?
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thank you so much. we're here to protect those who are below you right now. thank you very much, i appreciate. maureen. the floor is yours thanks to georgetown law for the invitation to speak at this annual conference i really i find interesting. anthony looks at why people are leaving central america and i always have to look at what happens to those that are on their journey or end up staying in mexico, mexico is that sandwich country to america and for a lot of people what they originally viewed as their main destination which is the united states. i'm so looking at what is mexico's production capacity right now and what are the limitations and particularly as itrelates to central american asylum-seekers . and then obviously what we see in the past few months has been a dramatic increase in apprehensions in mexico again and a shift where we
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saw the mexican president elected last december, policies of being a welcoming company, looking at alternatives for people to stay in mexico and mostly response to us threats and pressure, dramatically cracking down on immigration and migrants in transit through the country. i have apprehended as of august of this year over on the 44,000 migrants in transit, 85 percent from central america and if you look at how much bigger it is last year, if you compare those same eight months there's a 67 percent increase from one year to the next. it's about the first time they had a response to us pressure and again it's a dramatic increase apprehensions but at the same time and was different i think and what we saw originally that increase their applications in 2014 and 15 with the southern border program is a dramatic
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increase in asylum requests so last week the mexican refugee agencies that commissioned to support refugees release the most recent numbers which is from january to december to september of this year, 54,370 asylum requests. and this is a little bit of a three times more than they received all of last year but if you look back at how big of an increase this is, in 2015 so just four years ago mexico received only 3424 asylum requests so we have over 54,000 now compared to just a couple thousand a few years ago so it's a huge increase or a country that didn't feel the pressure to stand up and affect some system until recently. so why? why is it they have so many more people in mexico as a possibility or destination and there's many reasons, not just in response to the united states. one is there have been
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increase outreach in central america and mexico and character and talk more about the efforts but it's hard to go to southern mexico right now and not see migrant shelters posters about this is your right to seek protection. migrant shelters throughout mexico have to rescreen migrants educate migrant seekers that you can request protection in mexico, here's how and it's a broader network of organizations and lawyers and also supported by unhcr that can provide that legal guidance that you didn't have a few years ago and one is that the knowledge people have of mexico as a destination country coupled with this reception capacity, there are more shelters, or organizations that they're able to support asylum-seekers . another factor is word-of-mouth and access. so i was in tula and chiapas in august and where outside thedetention center .
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talking to asylum-seekers. i have to go every week there and have a paper signed at their continuing with their asylum claims and speaking to several from honduras, they had their sentencing resolved favorably and were going to say in mexico. we had friends and monterey and i can get a job area there's deciding to be more people that know people that are settled in mexico and deciding they believe is an option for them and lastly obviously is the increasing opticals they're facing to receive protection in the united states that is also word-of-mouth but in reality and i think if you look at even what's happening in northern mexico with thousands of people being forced to wait for an appointment in the united states and precarious conditions to those that are being sent back to mexico through migrant protection protocols to remain in mexico, more and more we don't have the numbers on it right now but some organizations on the northern border will say more people are deciding to opt for
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mexico because it becomes so difficult to say, to wait for an appointment and it's so dangerous and those border towns so wanting to see where they can move and see mexico as a destination. so what are the obstacles they may see if they decide to do that -mark are legal and some are in practice and others are resource-based and one looking at mexico's legal system, currently it's not easy to request asylum. you have a 30 day limit from the time you enter the country and when you have to apply. cartels in system ports that should be resolving it and hopefully this semester so there's that obstacle. the other is you need to stay in the state where you request asylum because you have to appear every eight days or 15 days. most of these people are requesting asylum in southern mexico and in chiapas so you're in an area where even though you can get a humanitarian visa to work
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while you're there, there's a backlog and there's an accumulation of people in mexico's border state where they don't have 70 something percent of the population in chiapas lives in poverty. you don't have an area in a system to support people waiting for their claims reprocessed . unhcr is doing a lot to support that population but you're in places which are not adequate to support you while you're waiting and face challenges of adequate housing, healthcare, education, etc. and the other eating practices by mexican officials or what their interpretation of their responsibilities so even if you approach a port of entry in southern mexico, you will be facing time in detention beforeyou're allowed to continue with your asylum claims it's not as if you're going to be , the only way you're allowed to pursue asylum without being apprehended is if you're lucky enough to reach a office or shelter before you get apprehended. we may not, few people are
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not facing these weeks and pretty awful detention center conditions that have continuously been documented as having lack of access to medical care, appropriate food, overcrowding and even more so now as a result of mexico'sincreased enforcement . you have a very limited alternative to detention programs that i think you had about 8000 people that have been released from detention based on the program at the immigration agency as shelters to release people but a lot of times about the invitation for the entire time . which is technically 45 days but could be months right now. so you're faced with a lot of obstacles and the last on that is lack ofproper screening . there's a citizen commission of mexican immigration agency and have been monitoring the missions of a lot of detention centers and in 2016 eight overall that mexican governments priorities are to
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protect, detain and deport people. they're not looking at protection and the majority of the people in this mission reported never having received information about their right to apply for protection or didn't understand what they were seeking and there's a lack of clarity and obstacles placed on them so that you don't want to request asylum, they're going to be in detention. can't access a lawyer, it's difficult to access legal assistance your intention, you almost have to know who to ask for. so it's a huge obstacle even if you want to request asylum , to do so in mexico and this means that about 10 percent of asylum claims in mexico don't pursue it. another 20 to 25 percent of those abandoned their claims either because they're tired of being in detention or they can't stay out on the streets or support their family or don't have any option to stay in mexico. the fact that i mexico mexico has started to make progress on its asylum system and
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certainly the unhcr has a lot to do with that. a name the head of the refugee agency who comes from the unhcr, has a lot of history, knows what needs to be done to strengthen their system looking at how you increase training for your staff, how to increase resources . we are seeing more cases being resolved favorably. we mentioned texaco applied declaration to its refugee law as that definition of someone being threatened by generalized violence violations of human rights as possible conditions to refuse asylum. they're starting to apply that definition more and more. it's been blackened applications for venezuelans asylum, almost 100 percent of venezuelans asylum in mexico but they're doing it for and more for individuals in el salvador and you can do it in the numbers, in 2017 you got half of the asylum-seekers were getting refugee status or protection like a
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compliment or a protection. this past year at least this part of this year increased 81 percent area are seeing more actually successfully getting protection in mexico. ithink in all of this , unhcr support has been critical both in increasing capacity to increasing society capacity. i'll talk more about that but i think what we have not seen a real commitment so far even with new government in mexico designating mexican resources to strengthening and building up an effective asylum system. a few years ago we had a joke mexico at 15 asylum officers for the entire country. even now today they have a and that's full-time mexican paid staff. a budget, got with the new government is promising significant shifts in prioritizing humanitarian assistance had a budget of $1.2 million for the entire
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country for an asylum agency right now facing 54,000 requests. you would think that would be next year they would have a bigger budget the budget proposal that came out in september only increases budget by $300,000 you so i think we've seen the units in two weeks ago, they had great meetings with the mexican minister of the interior, immigration agency, with foreign ministry and they all talk of government officials as having a condition of receiving refugees and being a country that single, one humanitarian treatment. it is not yet reflected in their budget priorities . that's the biggest challenges you cannot continue to have an entire asylum system afforded by just the unhcr and civil society organizations doing this work to support asylum-seekers area as the head of the agency knows of these budget shortfalls, he believes any have six times at least the current resources to have staff they need to have the training they need. we met with staff in i, this
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office is facing 60 percent of the claims. they're tired, they worked 12 hour days, they're paying for their own paper and its a real crisis and the system has been repeatedly alerted to its collapse given by mexico's commission last year but you need to designate moreresources to it . i think that's mexico's biggest challenge from the terms of the system itself is government coming in to make it work because we believe unhcr has done an amazing job to expand capacity but you need to start designating more resources and lastly a few things to consider about mexico as anasylum country . one is exit does not say or all asylum-seekers on the northern triangle area there's been many cases or concern of getting a graphical proximity, procedures pursuing people in southern mexico, especially when they're waiting for their asylum claims to be processed, you know when their way outside the agency, everyday people visibly
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waiting to have their paper time so easy for someone if they want to go after you cross the border and do it. we see that especially with women in domestic violence went to criminal organizations in central america. the community has been persecuted in mexico as well and there's a vulnerable population. and mexico isn't safe for a lot of asylum-seekers, we document for many years multiple high crimes against migrants in transit and where the criminal justice system has basically had 100 percent acuity for crimes against migrants, we have less than one percent of crimes reported were investigated . there's case mexicans request asylum in the united states so mexicans, not as a country for them. there's a security crisis in parts of mexico and populations that probably wouldn't be adequately protected . their own characteristics and proximity to the other country of origin. the others are more
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integration challenges, organizations that support asylum-seekers in mexico about the fact that people that get refugee status in mexico, with having adequate housing, healthcare, education, having their documents recognized by mexican employers as being valid . and i think even where you have cities that have been targeted and unhcr has moved to work to move people out of southern mexico. even then, you have a lot of jobs that are in the medela sector , the factories. they don't pay you that well either. so there's still that economic struggle. i was talking to the head of the shelter on friday and he was saying some refugees come to this filter on sundays to get a good meal though there'sstill that challenge . and there's now this mexican
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population that has less than one percent foreign-born as a country to effectively view refugees and asylum-seekers as instructed important parts of their society and what we see this year is a unfortunate growing of euphoria in mexico from tests in, tula to not wanting the office to be downtown the process in the office being moved somewhere else like not wanting it there to even my driver in mexico city that was feeling very resentful of the fact that the station was offerjobs to central americans in mexico instead of working to create more jobs for mexicans . a broader area of how you really, what's mexico's reception capacity and that needs to include how to work with mexican society so they become much more welcomingand willing to have that broader refugee population living in their communities .quick's thank you very much maureen. >> if you would round this out for us by talking to us about the regional approaches in unhcr's engagement. >> thank you or having us
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here talking about this important topic area my understanding is that you talk about the problem and maureen talk about what is being done and my job is studying it all in context and talking about what can be done to sort of try and address this problem. and i wanted to start talking a bit about something that i think is best in the unit because we have this in central america but we also have a crisis going on at this moment without house speaker and in a sense the continent puts forward some of the best practices we have and some of the worst practices that we have on responsive sharon which i think is really the underpinning of what has been able the international protections over the last six years, the fact that when there is a big problem, it can be just a problem of one country but many have to come
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together and help each other out and try to find solutions and that is a work load for many years with many problems . but to stay afloat despite the crisis and in south africa due to the same circumstances and a few years ago we didn't have an administrator. today we have over 4.2 million venezuelans have left their countries and 16 countries and we of course you're about venezuela but we don't hear as much troubles as we hear about central america and that is because it's like all the problems and despite a huge number, 16 countries that have come together to find a way to share the responsibility in a humane manner and in a way that reflects the responsibility of the continent , of course there are challenges there too but we can certainly say there has been a display of hospitality in the continent
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of venezuela that's been in my view remarkable if we think about what columbia is done receiving over 1.2 million people despite the fact that they have over 7 million still in the country so i think a remarkable display of solidarity there and dumping that i think needs to be looked at when we are looking at how to dissolve large-scale migrant flows. the second example that we can talk about is nicaragua. today costa rica has received over 120,000 educations all alone and is doing all alone and that is very remarkable show of goodwill and willingness to do the right thing and with very little there has been some support but not nearly enough for what we have taken on. so these are two examples of sort of countries rolling up their sleeves and saying we have a problem and how do we resolve it and how do we talk about rid there is a new
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platform, that is responding, there's a real concrete action on the ground that i think we can impact . when it comes to the northern triangle, i honestly have been speaking about this subject for the past six years. the problems are the same, they haven't changed . the same drama persists. we still have a problem on narrative and there's people wondering whether people living in central america are refugees which is hard to believe when you see what actually happens to people. there's still a problem of infrastructure in the region asylum seekers are negligence, we still have very few capacity which maureen responded to when it comes to mexico. if you look at many other countries, we are still definitely not there. guatemala is not there yet and so on. so we still have a few countries taking on a lot of the responsibility for this refugee flow. so if this is assessing a
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little bit of what we have, what have we done? for the past 86 years now, we have been stressing that these problems requires a multifaceted response of the regional extent. that brings everybody together to look at asylum countries to figureout a way of managing this problem . in a coherent manner. so we have launched what we call a comprehensive response framework for central america that bring together seven countries and there have brought sort of from a political perspective seven countries together lookat what needed to be done and this was four years ago . sort of looking at what needed to be done in el salvador, guatemala and in honduras in terms of managing the displacements that i mentioned there so what were some of the programs that we launched to try to look at
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indications that were high-risk and how do we use children and women living in the neighborhoods, how do we align violations there in the best possible way and then we had discussions about how do we asylum systems across the region that they can be better equipped to deal with asylum applications and providing protections and of course we have been talking about solutions so what kind of solutions and we make available to people who are taking very, lots of rest and to find protection. though through this approach, and quite a lot of investments, both at the political level but also the operational level, unhcr has offices all over the continent, to try and engage governments inproviding response . some of the data maureen was talking about is the fact
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that today we have a high number of asylum applications is not a coincidence. there are lots of refugees but now refugees can make asylum applications, something that was not possible for years ago i remember myself being in tula and there was families living in camps in parks under the start and had no idea where to seek asylum so today, that's not the picture that we have in mexico. we're far from being perfection but mexico today is offering its citizens things when they were offering yesterday. there's been massive step forward in the course we want a country like belize and guatemala, for example guatemala as a small country has its own problems and i think that quite explains where the problems are this is slowly becoming a country of asylum. to establish applications over the past couple of years . it's not for everybody butfor some , so we are seeing some
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results in terms of the number of people that are approaching governments. we're seeing a lot larger social network through the region. over 80 shelters have been developed through the region over the past few years. we are seeing asylum systems that are not perfect for sure but certainly starting to move and function in a way that they were not functioning a few years ago and we are looking at more and more people being granted protections being adjudicated in a favorable way which again is such important data. this regional framework has brought into the meat a lot of political actors. the us for example is about to launch a fund to support countries developing programs or central america. we are also seeing more and more political buy-in into these frameworks.
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but the reality is that the investment in this regions have been very limited. for the problem that is facing. so as unhcr and other cities are trying to do their best, we still have areas where investment has been minimal area where the notion of we had a protection problem we need to resolve it is so far from being talked about in the right way. there are initiatives underway, some more complex than others but the reality is we are still not there and countries are still very much struggling with what we need to do. so i would leave it at that in terms of the addiction, maybe we can havea conversation . >> thank you very much. so i'll invite people to come forward to ask questions, to go to any mike if you would like to read it and please, when you ask questions identify yourselves .
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and if you're asking a particular panelist, please do that area so take your time but in themeantime , i'll ask some questions but please do come forward to talk shop as soon as i see you. and i already see somebody coming. i didn't have to go that far. could you read and introduce yourself? >> my name is john ashley, i asked a question at panel one but i'm sitting on the i'll want to get up. anybody has to question you want to pass on. this is for anthony fontez. there's been people that said if american demand that drives the drum tree. if we didn't demand it, there wouldn't be the kind of money pouring into the gangs and the cartels have got more money than law enforcement does. it got better weapons. armor piercing stuff and they will kill anybodywho gets in their way . so there has been a proposal,
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why don't you legalize all these drugs in the united states, have the government make them. nice and cheap, pure, synthetic. you can go to the drugstore, the cvs, via a bagof cocaine for $.25 . >> this question is for the utopia panel. >> nobody can impress their girlfriend with i can blow low $10,000 on cocaine. then will gohave sex . from the cvs. if you take the money away, you take the corruption away. i don't know whether it's practical or not but is any part of that possible? >> requested. that was notthe question i was going to ask . >> as i said, the solutions, the solutions are available that might be utopian but
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that's what we're here to discuss area in terms of and all that detail you gave us are so correct on a lot of different fronts. i would say that yes, the amount of money being brought in by drug trafficking organizations is tantamountto the tvs of these countries . given the extent of poverty, it's one of the major moneymaking ways to make money especially for the poor in the country. it's also deeply embedded in the moral economies of places area i know that especially along the border regions where narcotraffickers have operated for generations, their scene as benefactors by large swaths of thepopulation . so in a sense, there have been movements under former president perez molina in the early 2010s to start making noise about legalizing the
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traffic of cocaine and guatemala and in retrospect it was just to get the state department comedown and give them more money which has worked as well. starting to start dialogue with other countries . theus is don't do that, here's money help fight the drug problem . i don't think that eliminating, if you could all of a sudden automatically wave a wand and eliminate the money coming in for drug traffickers, it wouldn't resolve the problem of elite impunity in the country for the corruption in the country that caused a lot of chaos at first. and the real problem i think the drug trafficking organizations, legalization and ending us led war on drug policies is a first step. that would have to come from the united states. it couldn't just happen in these countries so what's the state of play in terms of legalization of cocaine in the us for methamphetamines or even opioids which increase in guatemala is one
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of the major cash crops being developed. i think it's a nonstarter in terms of getting the us administration to push for an end to the war ondrugs policies . so outside of utopia imaginings i don't think that's possible . the other thing is that to me, the problem goes deeper than the drug traffickers and it's really about decades of centuries of a tiny elite pulling on the power by whatever means possible and making sure no government entities that interfere with what they're doing. i'll give you an example. guatemala had the lowest tax rate in hemisphere, 12 percent flat tax which everyone knows is not today and this is because of an elite rule that has gone on and has been held up and given political cover by the united states during the cold war . that has made it, and that impunity for the elite, the ways they to protect their
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interests into for example the banking system so extortion is one of the major problems in banks. and in feeding off our communities, much of the extortions with literally people making deposits and bank accounts . and when i talk to attorney general's people who work the good guys and the administer alito and others in the ag's office in guatemala, when they talk about the problem of sporting which is one of the major forces driving out migration because of violence in the region, they say the hardest thing in tracking down extortion isn't even finding witnesses or going after banks, it's getting the banks to give up their information because there's no financial oversight lost because of elite rule for generations to ensure no one can look at how they're dealing with their money so not that i'msidestepping your question, i'd love it if we could do exactly what you describe . but at the end of the day. >> solve the problem, hemeant . >> i think it was something
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that's more doable, more viable and it gets to the core of the issue would be increasing the oversight of transactions: daily transactions that go far beyond just drug trafficking. >> thank you very much. we had two colleagues on the side, please introduce yourself and ask our first question's my name is valerie with theinstitute for women's policy research . my question isn't as interesting as the previous one. i wanted some more information about vulnerable groups amongst the migrants i know maureen touched on earlier instance, we talk about the limited capacity of mexico to deal with migrants and even though we tend to focus on the us and how harsh some of the policies are right now, mexico has its own history as well when it comes to, i'm thinking about
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populations from honduras, from guatemala, indigenous populations that may even speak spanish and who are coming through mexico. there was the case of emile cologne cabrera who was released in 2014 after staying five years in pretrial detention in mexico and he was a member of the dairy community in honduras and wondering other people that we are not evencapturing right now ? earlier i heard in a panel that africans or extra regional migrants are even being stopped at thesouthern border of mexico . are there groups from the information you have that are particularly being targeted by harsher methods? >> i think anyone stuck in the chocolate you love feels is vulnerable given the situation there in. they're easily targeted because even central americans are fairly
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identifiable whether there or not, is a general targeting of migrants. i think beyond the community, i think domestic violence victims and we can talk about that, there's a lot of women being central american girls and may feel very persecuted by the perpetrators into mexico and others and unaccompanied children. we have a series of videos saving central american children from honduras area one girl and then forced into work in prostitution for the gangs, escaped a kidnapping in mexico and was offered asylum she was 15 and her mom was in the united states so the other conditions where there are people that maybe could qualify for protection in mexico is not in the best interest. the other mexican custody until your 18 which is not an effective system either vulnerable group as children traveling on their own, i would say there is a large african next for continental population is pretty much
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stuck in mexico right now and i think that's what we're seeing in terms of the media lately and it has to do with some changes to how mexico has applied its visa system lately. i think for extra continentals one for cubans which was up until a few months ago you were from a country that didn't have a good presence in mexico or no consulate presents for a country that didn't want to receive its population the cubans up until recently, mexico wasn't sure what to do with you if you're comingfrom the condo so they would give you an exit visa . somebody turn this exit visa or it look like a safe passage to get to the border and it was good for 20 or 30 days and you get anywhere in mexico . they decided under pressure to change that visa and as we saw in august where now you are issued perhaps an exit visa to go to southern mexico , you have to leave through the southern border which
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basically means there's no real possibility for going farther without being detected and its population that doesn't feel like mexico is the right place for them the requesting protection whether it's because they have no cultural language affinity to mexico, like a lot of african population that might therefore that humans most of them really want their main destination to the united states so there's basically a lack of response right now from the mexicans as to what other options this population might have that doesn't want to request protection in mexico that wants to keep going but has no way to safely and humanely do that it's a big challenge that we have not gotten the clearance from the mexicans what else they could offer or what else they could issue support for that population and i'm not sure if you have thoughts about that there's certainly people that are vulnerable. and we also do the same thing with the people from the united states, there's people
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that are being sent back to the mexican border towns that are alsovulnerable in their conditions . >> perhaps from our perspective rascals overall groups of people
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will make their way here in the most orderly, organized and safe way possible for the children. this discussion has been going on for quite some time now. >> i have three questioners now. we will start again on the side. i'm watching as people come than and taking them in order. >> thank you. since this panel talked about the greater issues that lead to people migrating from central america, basically when last fall when the trump administration suspended aid to central american countries, there was actually like a likep report last september which actually mentioned that a lot of the people are migrating from rural guatemala being forced to
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migrate due to climate change affecting agriculture there, one of the factors was something that affects coffee plant and is leading to declining yields and people not being able to support themselves. my question was more like we talk about the effects of violence, have the chicken people having to migrate from other regions like when climate change being now a major cause for for a true different means of like leading to people to migrate and on the other hand, we see that basically as an increasing restrictions on like what conditions in recent people can claim asylum for as we've seen the u.s. now and also like many people who apply for a cyber claims being branded as economic migrants. how do we move ahead and be able to solve these basically challenges where it's not very clear to define as who was a refugee and who's not and they
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could be multiple factors leading to people migrating? thank you. >> adding to the complexities. so i believe that this problem has been there for a very, very long time in terms of the complexities of the flows. i'm not an expert in economic situation but i knew no that it does play a part in decision of people to move on and to try to find solutions to a better life and for the families, et cetera. from our perspective there has to be a sustained investment in the three countries, , the northern triangle, if we are to see, you know, a meaningful chance of people establishing life in countries. i don't think anybody wants to
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leave their homes if they can stay there. that of course has been jeopardized over recent times by having a much more sort of strict approach to the funding of eligibility to this country. that's a real challenge and a real challenge very often bring to the table when we discuss with everybody involved, saying you can only do so much, we can only support it with so much. it's not address of the court and at the root. we will continue sort of addressing the impacts rather than the problem itself. there is a fundamental issue. and lest there is a way of addressing the challenges in this country, you know, from a lot order perspective, from a broader institutional perspective and some of the challenges you were discussing, i think were not going to. in ten years we're still time of the same issues altogether and that will not take us very far.
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so that is certainly at the root for the whole situation. when you have asked scale displacement, there's a number of factors leading to that pick up a look at venezuela with a very significant situation. certainly people are fleeing for protection but also have people playing because the collapse of the state in many ways. looking at root causes investment in these countries is certainly investing in everything from looking at how the country is being managed to how the type of corruption, cartels, drug trafficking. the rest of us can only sort of put families on the public. >> i would just add that i said before asylum is low door that holds up the big wall in the sense it's always only met in a tiny trickle of people defined by very strict and often strict
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categories that door often lined up with a relic of what makes people leave the country in first place. as well it only deals with like it like a worst-case scenario. after everything is totally gone wrong, asylum becomes an option. you mentioned in terms of cutting off u.s. aid to these countries as a big stick to make them do something, what, who knows really? there's a number of small, even, i will call him smaller so the are less advertise that the u.s. has been in the recent past supporting positive change in the region that have evaporated under this administration without a lot of attention. what comes to my mind is the now ended a program of -- for those who are not guatemala watchers, the commission against them. in guatemala, which was an long-standing since 2007 2007 n support of body a little going letter going after those elites and delete private talked about
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before, brought one president down, exposed huge corruption scandals among guatemalan elite that was making some very systematic and structural changes in how guatemalans elite were able to do business and a broad popular support. under the last president he tried to take away its mandate. vice president biden and state farm stepped in and sit if you do that we're cutting off funding, and it stayed. three years later president morale is was like the little trump, you know, comedian made-for-tv character who will come he was starting to get sniffed at by cc tracking him down, and when he threatened to get rid of them along with a lot of other congressmen, u.s. did nothing, looked the other way. just that single looking away is going to cause untold sort of reversals in the little bit of
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progresses made torturing in elite, some of these structural issues. a dozen off to involve massive programmatic investments and it can really continue on with some of the programs that have succeeded, at least give sense for people in the region someone, that there is hope. i think that preservation, intention and resurrection of some sort of hope for people in region is key to starting, stemming these flows and making people invest in the places where there are and in ways that are possible. >> thank you, anthony. so we have six minutes left and we have three questioners and they're all going to get to ask the question. but i'm good at maths i know how to do this. please if each of you would ask your questions now and succinct way, , that i think will have te panel take them in and respond. as the final sort of read comment if that's okay with you. >> thank you. i'm an immigration lawyer tried
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to help these people who do get here remain here and fight these cases that our immigration judges don't believe the corruption. they don't believe the police are corrupt. they don't believe there are no protection for these people and they can't do into a replacement. of course they could internally relocate. they don't get that the gangs, you know, have infiltrated everything. in my entire practice in studies when i was in law school it was always we got to look at the long-term picture. what if you mention long-term we have to see how quickly fix this. it's not a poor solution, not overnight solution. someone mentioned this got to be greater investment. some more nations have to be -- they can't just be the u.s. worked about this. more nations invested but practically speaking who's going to invest? how can we change this cycle of trying to elect someone for an overnight fix or whoever is in
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charge now and you don't think a wall and crocodiles will solve the problem. it's not. we know that. long-term fixes. who do they go to to say you've got to do your job, talking u.s. politicians? are we talking you and officials? what is going to be resolved for this u.s. long-term fix so that is that the u.s. putting a public into a new country, which is been the problem in the history that we know. so for investment, who's making these investments to improve the situations? >> thank you. >> hello. daniel with the economic policy institute. my question is a narrow one. it's directed at maureen and chiara. one of the tools in the policy toolbox has been issuing work permits to asylum seekers and countries of destination, but it's been hard to get good
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information about it. the reporting has been sort of sparse. it's even hard to get information about who are from people in mexico. can you offer any additional context about how that's worked? what's happened? our offices and unhcr offices pushing governments to do that and make it more common? what's been the experience? anything you can offer along those lines? >> great question, thanks. and our third question. >> i'm connor, internet for center for democracy americas and is would ask the current administration chose to cut for an assistant to central america and wanted to know what of the long-term effects we are going to see from that? mostly in terms of poverty and displacement. thank you. >> thank you. okay. so who would like to start? sure, go ahead. thank you.
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>> let's talk about positive things. so a work permit. we have seen that mexico has made a point of developing what we call -- ready much in the area that marine was discussing. where for the first time we are actually saying asylum-seekers web, urban refugees able to get legally reside in mexico now able to consider for protection, are able to stay in mexico with a work permit and are also integrated into the labor market through job placement system. it's been very successful. so far in terms of the retention rate and the making sure that companies abide by a set of standards when it comes to standards. there are of course also examples like marine explained earlier, certain circumstances, refugees are finance, working sectors that are not high paying
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-- we have an 85% retention rate people who have been sort of channel into these employment scheme, and it's also been coupled with insertion for children whose parents have been placed in this new scheme, also for children of access to education and sort of making sure we're stabilizing the family, making sure the parents are able to work and the children are able to go to school. that's been really positive. that's very much coming out of this regional framework i was talked about earlier, when mexico has committed to development this animation program. i must say it has certainly been a very good example of a country that is trying to do something to actually stabilize population where that some particular the other example is guatemala.
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the government has just announced recently digital -- -- that's also very positive. now, we have different economic scenario in guatemala than in mexico, but nonetheless it is a step in the right direction. >> there's actually work for those? >> yes. >> you are the diplomat. >> clearly with a different economic realities, but the fact the government is willing to share, it's not a negative thing. >> iq for clarifying. clearly the international cumin has a lot to do with this. >> i think there's a few thing is work permits -- there's one when you're applying for some you can't apply for he mention a style that to work but humanitarian visas are in their own category that it be so use a
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liberal interpretation for like public, like public use, interest to provide this many people with humanitarian, over 20,000 people in the first two months of the shakeup he mentioned visas because there with the caravans coming through and the government of mexico wasn't feeling like it adequately address the population in the short time so given visas they can work your, report every six months to you. humanitarian visas for victims of violent crimes in mexico so they can stay in the country can pursue the complaints against aggressive, more like u-visa here. one of the main purposes, they use it with a lot of patience a documentary visas in tijuana when there are stuck after the obama administration stopped issuing humanitarian paroles. it's a weird category. you can find on the webpage per month how many to mention visas are being issued. if you look for data i concert to get that to you.
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i think there's been over 20,000 this year alone. there's a clear thing of disconnect between labor shortages in mexico and maybe a knee. speaking to one of mexico's business corporations, associations also understand the need to do better to match where they might have labor shortages to needs. the mexican government has more minimal programs in southern mexico which is a very small program to start providing economic or employment opportunities for central american migrants. we've not seen that at all on a mass scale get. just to comment on what can be done here and was happen with the united states. congress has been for the best backstop to the administrations worst intentions terms of flushing all aid to cental america. assistance doesn't have been working to look at climate change adaptability, to rule of law programs to evidence-based violence prevention programs to good governance. we think there's a need to do a period congress at work to make
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sure next year you can't -- their working to try to not allow that to happen again for eight not to be cut and that's what area with u.s. congress continues to really push on the need to support central america, albany to support anticorruption efforts. it's pushing members of congress in this context to keep doing that to really look at root causes of migration from central america. >> last word, anthony. i know we are beyond our time. >> the long-term fixed issue and get all professorial for a second. the problem, what's happening central america's at least 50 years in the making. 50 years of sustained u.s. policies supporting the powers of the status quo more or less what it is from toppling second elected president in guatemala to his word scorched-earth campaigns genocide in guatemala, el salvador of 30 years later. this has been sustained. it's taken a sustained effort to keep think, make things this bad and is going to take that, a stained -- sustained effort over
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an equal amount of time as carol was saying, they another generation to actually do anything to resolve what's happening now. again, echoing things have been brought up in prior panels, these problems have been going on for a long time. the crisis of use border is in many ways and emanation, and expression, a spectacular session of problems of the crisis that's been ongoing in central america for generations. and the u.s. of subsisting in all sorts of ways and it's like a moral responsibility and also a pragmatic need that what goes around comes around, the crucible central america and exploded in the '80s because of condition that were unlivable. those conditions are being repeated again and await its much harder to pick apart and understand. unless something is done in an long-term sustained basis, then this will continue to cause major disruption and suffering
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in central america and is going to echo out for generations across the region. >> thank you very much. please join me in thanking these experts. [applause] >> and we're back at 3:45. please be back on time so we can get going with our last panel. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> coming up after this break the rule of different branches of the u.s. government in dealing with migration and asylum seekers. live coverage continuing your c-span2. this morning i can homeland security secretary kevin mcaleenan was prevented from speaking at this event after protesters repeatedly interrupted essene reports they stay with long black cloth subgraph with writing the red stand with immigrants and hate is not normal. we will show that to you right now. >> today you hear again voices from across the spectrum and from different vantage points. you won't agree with all of them that at the time adjustment every aspect of immigration has become sol

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