• US Senators Warn Against Tariffs on Mexico

    The migrant flow from Central America to the United States is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, but cannot be solved through the use of tariffs, two US senators said at the Atlantic Council on June 12.

    On May 30, US President Donald J. Trump threatened to impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods by June 10 unless the Mexican government did more to help prevent migrants from reaching the US border. He further warned that this tariff would be increased by five percentage points each month until satisfactory progress was made. On June 7, Trump announced that a deal had been struck with the Mexican government that saw the tariff threat dropped, although it could be reinstated if the there is a “problem.”

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  • Violence Against Women Driving Migration from the Northern Triangle

    US President Donald J. Trump has described the caravan of Central American migrants making its way north through Mexico as an “invasion” by “many gang members and some very bad people.” Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent David Ward claimed—without a shred of evidence—that the group comes bearing smallpox, leprosy, and tuberculosis.

    There is one thing these people do have: fear.

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  • Halting the ‘Caravans’

    Addressing push factors is key to stemming flow of unauthorized migrants, says Atlantic Council’s Jason Marczak

    US President Donald J. Trump on April 3 announced that he would deploy US troops to the border with Mexico to stop the flow of unauthorized migrants into the United States. The comment followed a series of tweets in which the president warned about the “caravans” of migrants that are headed through Mexico to the United States.

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  • Rescinding DACA Undermines Trump’s Central America Policy

    US President Donald J. Trump’s September 4 decision to rescind a program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who were illegally brought to the United States to remain in the country undermines his administration’s stance towards Central America.

    While Trump reportedly vacillated until the last hour about whether to end the program that provided protection to these young people—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—immigration hawks ultimately prevailed.

    There is uncertainty about the immediate impact on DACA-eligible children—known as Dreamers—of the decision to unravel the program former US President Barack Obama put in place by executive order in 2012. Trump has...

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  • Guatemala Averts Political Crisis, But Damage is Done for Jimmy Morales

    Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales shocked Guatemalans and the international community last week when he ordered the expulsion of Iván Velásquez, commissioner of the United Nations International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), the organization leading the investigation into the illegal financing of Morales’ presidential campaign.

    Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has blocked the expulsion order, which was condemned by the international community, on the grounds that Morales did not have the authority to expel Velásquez.  Morales is expected to accept the court’s decision. However, with the attempted expulsion Morales has jeopardized Guatemala’s advances against corruption and inched the country closer to a political crisis....

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  • To Secure the United States' Southern Border, Look to Central America

    US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly says improvement in conditions will reduce unauthorized migration

    US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has some advice for people thinking of crossing over illegally into the United States: don’t bother coming.

    “The message is, ‘If you get here—if you pay the traffickers you will probably get here—you will be turned around within our laws relatively quickly and returned. It is not worth wasting your money,’” Kelly said at the Atlantic Council on May 4.

    People from Central America’s Northern Triangle—Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—make up the vast majority of migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.

    Kelly credited deportations, US government appeals to civil society in Central America, and an improvement in economic opportunities in those countries, in combination with cooperation between the US and Mexican governments, for the reduction by 70 percent in the...

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  • The End of Corruption Culture in Latin America?

    Accountability in the region creates space for safer investments

    Odebrecht was once synonymous with Latin America’s most ambitious public works projects. Today, those who hear the name think only of the web of malfeasance that has engulfed the region and continues to extend beyond the continent. But, as negative as these new revelations may seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and opportunities along the way. The pragmatic efforts of police and judicial actors show that some countries in the region are ready to face impunity head on. If Latin America can continue down the road to accountability, US investors could be the first to benefit.

    What started as a money laundering investigation in Brazil in 2014, the case of Odebrecht, Brazil’s largest construction company, has today developed into the deepest corruption scandal Latin America has seen, with top leaders implicated. Just this week, major newspapers...

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  • Marczak Quoted by CNHI on Security in Guatemala

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  • Marczak on Guatemala's New President

    The Wall Street Journal quotes Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Deputy Director Jason Marczak on Guatemala's new president and the implications of the recently approved US aid package for Guatemala:

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  • Guatemala’s New President Faces His Biggest Challenge: Governing

    Jimmy Morales, a former comedian, has won a landslide election victory to become the next President of Guatemala. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part: governing.

    Morales won twice the number of votes than his opponent, former First Lady Sandra Torres, in a runoff election on Oct. 25. He will take office on Jan. 14, 2016.

    Morales campaigned on a promise to fight corruption after former President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and was arrested on graft charges in September.

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