World in View: Mexico’s ‘La Migra’

December 10, 2015

From the November-December 2015 issue of News & Letters

The U.S. pays Mexico millions of dollars to prevent Central American asylum seekers from reaching here. Mexico sends hundreds of immigration agents to its southern border states to round up refugees and deport them back to their countries.

Immigration police have conducted thousands of raids: capturing Central Americans who ride freight trains heading north, swooping into bus stations and hotels, stopping buses on highways. More than 100,000 will be deported this year.

While promoted as a program to “protect the human rights of migrants,” in reality it is a police-military operation that endangers their lives. First, those deported face out of control violence in home countries full of gangs, drugs and corruption.

Second, the atmosphere in Mexico is now one of open season on Central Americans. Gangs kidnap refugees and demand ransom from families. Women are raped and forced into prostitution. Youth are forced into the drug trade. The poisonous climate against Central Americans has led to attacks on refugee asylum centers.

The U.S. also bears its share of responsibility. Besides using Mexico as its police enforcer, the U.S. has been isolating Central American youth who do make it to our borders, throwing them into deportation centers without legal representation, and deporting them by the tens of thousands.

—Eugene Walker

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