World in View: Immigration: the view from Mexico

January 9, 2024

by Eugene Walker

They are hunting us, they want us to get on the trucks to go to Tapachula, they want to deport us.” —Migrant woman

Here in Mexico the situation for migrants, primarily from Central and South America as well as Haiti and now from all over the world including Africa, is dire. The National Guard, supposedly created to stem the out of control narco-trafficking violent gangs throughout the country, is instead used against newly arrived immigrants, either stopping them from crossing the border from Guatemala, or making life miserable for those who were able to cross.


‘The Beast,’ a train used by thousands of migrants to cross Mexico from South to North, has diminished its journeys recently due to work in the region. Migrants have been forced to use other routes. Photo: Gloria Marvic, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED

The Guard, joined by the very institute that is supposed to assist migrants—the National Institution of Migration (INM)—broke up the “Exodus from Poverty” caravan. They forced over 400 migrants, mostly Haitians, Venezuelans and Hondurans, onto INM buses, promising them papers. Instead they dropped them in various Chiapas communities with no papers. As one said: “They dispersed us all, the Guard and the Navy came and took us out of here.”

Not only do immigrants often have to pay smugglers thousands of dollars to cross Mexico and reach the U.S., but women often face the danger of rape on these journeys. Now gang members in Mexico have begun a new extortion racket: kidnapping groups of migrants passing through Mexico and calling their relatives in the U.S. to demand ransom money.

A priest in the Episcopalian church in Mexico explained: “The violation of the human rights of migrants is recurrent throughout the country at the hands of organized crime, police authorities of all kinds, immigration officials, transporters and others, who abuse their vulnerability.”

To all this we can add the collusion of the Mexican government with U.S. authorities to make the journey to reach Mexico’s northern border more and more difficult.

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