Washington, DC (PanAm) – Mexican authorities have deported at least 107,814 Central American immigrants in the last year. Thousands of Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Guatemalans have been forced to abandon North American soil after Mexico joined the United States in this endeavor.
According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), Mexico has surpassed the United States in its number of deportations of Central American migrants: in the past 12 months, the United States deported 70,448, while Mexico sent back more than 2,000 migrants every week.
In August 2014, Mexican authorities put forth their Southern Border Plan, which seeks to prevent Central American immigrants from risking their lives on “La Bestia” (The Beast), thenetwork of freight trains migrants use to travel through Mexico.
Mexican migration officials launched the plan last year, after the Mexican and US governments agreed to cooperate in the face of a severe crisis of child migrants from Central America looking to cross the border on their own. Since then, arrests have increased by 25 percent, and migration checks have increased by 200 percent.
In September 2015, the MPI published a report which calls for the United States, Mexico, and Central American countries to develop more comprehensive migration policies “with workable enforcement and humanitarian protection.” The report further recommends that these polices “address poor standards of living, improve citizen security in the Northern Triangle, and facilitate the reintegration of deportees.”
The MPI study also demonstrates that the majority of those deported are young men with “low educational-attainment levels, most having experience in low-skilled jobs.” Moreover, nearly 40 percent of them were unemployed in the 30 days prior to leaving their home country.
In June 2015, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto stated that the immigration-related measures taken in Mexico have allowed the country to achieve a 0 percent illegal-immigration rate.
Meanwhile, US-based daily the New York Times (NYT) published an article that assures the United States is paying Mexico to enact a “ferocious crackdown” against migrants from Central America.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario writes: “The United States has given Mexico tens of millions of dollars for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 to stop these migrants from reaching the United States border to claim asylum.”
Further, the journalist states that “Beginning in July 2014, Mexico redirected 300 to 600 immigration agents to its southernmost states, and conducted over 20,000 raids in 2014 on the freight trains migrants ride on top of, and the bus stations, hotels, and highways where migrants travel.”
Nazario contends that Mexican authorities allow detainees to apply for asylum. However, during the wait time, they remain locked up in cells where “rats roam by day and worms infest the food migrants get.” She further explains that only 20 percent of these migrants receive asylum status.
In May 2015, social-media users shared a controversial video in which alleged Mexican migration authorities mercilessly mistreat a handicapped Honduran immigrant. Both the NMI and the National Discrimination Prevention Council (Conapred) opened investigations into the alleged discriminatory action.
In addition to the mistreatment migrants allegedly receive from Mexican authorities, many of these people are also victims of other serious crimes, such as kidnappings, rape, and murder. According to the Migrant Defense Organizations Documentation Network, the majority of these abuses go unpunished.
Written by Sabrina Martín for PanAm Post.