Report: Mexico Government Must Guarantee Migrant Caravan’s Access to Protection and Humanitarian AssistanceAs the migrant caravan makes its way through Mexico, members of the Citizens’ Council of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (ConsejoCiudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, CCINM)—a body that serves as a platform for formal dialogue between civil society and the INM—visited Mexico’s southern border zone from October 20-23, in order to document the conditions facing migrants in the area as well as the Mexican government’s response to the situation.
In a report based on its observations, the Citizens’ Council reports that members of the caravan that had been waiting at the international bridge to apply to regularize their immigration status in Mexico crossed into the country on October 22. They are now gathered at the Tapachula fairground facilities in the state of Chiapas, where authorities are receiving migrants who have decided to begin the regularization process.
(Note: The Mexican state of Chiapas lies directly across the southern border of Mexico from Guatemala. These people are about 2,000 miles from the U.S.)
According to information provided by the INM, since October 19, 1,699 migrants have requested asylum and 30 percent (495 migrants) have been deported, including some that arrived with the caravan. In terms of the asylum application process, the Citizens’ Council found that there is no systematized procedure for ensuring migrants are informed of the status of their asylum application or possible alternatives to detention.
According to the report, humanitarian agencies, officials from all three levels of government, human rights bodies, and other organizations like the Red Cross are providing assistance to migrants at the Tapachula fairgrounds, but there is still a serious shortage of food, basic health services, and other necessities.
In terms of the migrants that are continuing on to other parts of Mexico, the Citizens’ Council noted the presence of a group of people that are spreading misinformation within the caravan, hindering members’ access to humanitarian assistance and accurate information about their rights and regularization options. The report highlights the need for Mexican authorities to disseminate information about migrants’ rights in areas where they are gathered, and to ensure their physical security and access to medical attention and other basic needs throughout their journey through Mexico.
During the presidential campaign and throughout the first year of his administration, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed for tougher enforcement of the United States’ southern border to curb illegal immigration and illicit drug flows from Mexico.
It is on Mexico’s southern border with Central America, however, that many of the current issues originate. Ironically, Trump’s harsh rhetoric and proposed cuts to international aid could inadvertently amplify these problems.
For decades the US experienced high volumes of illegal immigration from Mexico, largely due to economic hardship in Mexico and inadequate and inconsistent enforcement by the US. However, in recent years the net immigration from Mexico to the US has all but disappeared, and more Mexicans are in fact migrating within Mexico.
This trend began well before President Trump came to office. Pew estimated that from 2009 to 2014, one million Mexicans left the US and 870,000 arrived. Some of the changes stem from an improving economy and job market in Mexico, as well as improved border enforcement by both Mexico and the US. In the past year, undoubtedly, some have also been deterred by Trump’s threats of increased deportations.
The largest source of illegal immigration at the US southern border now comes from Central American immigrants, specifically from the Golden Triangle, or Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. These countries have not witnessed the same degree of economic growth as Mexico and high levels of corruption, poverty, and exposure to drug-related violence induce many to leave.
Many Americans remember the surge in 2014 of unaccompanied children from this region seeking entrance to the United States. Mexico deported around 140,000 people in 2016, approximately 96 percent of whom originated from the Northern Triangle countries.
When it comes to drugs, Mexican drug cartels remain the largest foreign suppliers of heroin, and methamphetamines to the US, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Mexican cartels have also become leading producers of Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic. Cocaine largely originates from Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, but the DEA estimates that 93-94% of Colombian cocaine comes to the US via the Mexico/Central America land corridor.
Consequently, the need for drug cartels to move high volumes through this vast corridor has created significant employment opportunities in poor, Central American communities, but also widespread violence, which prompts many to flee north.
Recognizing the threats posed from Central America, in recent years, the US and Mexico have enacted joint efforts to strengthen enforcement of both the US and Mexico southern borders. The US views this border as the first line of defense against illegal immigration and drug trafficking into the US and sees a role in filling the gaps that Mexico lacks the capacity to handle on its own that ultimately affect the American border.
In an effort to curb immigration from unaccompanied minors from Central America, in 2016 the US Congress approved $750 million to support the Obama administration’s Northern Triangle Alliance for Prosperity Plan, which doubled assistance to Central America from 2014 levels.
On the security and law enforcement side, in 2007, the US and Mexico launched theMérida Initiative, a partnership aimed at disrupting organized crime, institutionalizing reforms that support rule of law and human rights, and creating secure and modernized borders. To date, the US Congress has appropriated $2.5 billion to the initiative.
Additionally, the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) and the US Department of Defense have worked to enhance Mexico’s police and border patrol agencies, in part by funding a $75 million telecommunications project to improve secure communications between Mexican agencies working in eight southern states.
INL has also implemented programs with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to strengthen law enforcement institutions and train Mexican police and military units to improve drug seizures in the southern border zone.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s adversarial posture toward Mexico could actually endanger the ability to combat migration and drug flows into the United States, even with increased enforcement in the north. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), a leftist populist candidate for Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections, has recently taken the lead in polls by running as the anti-Trump.
AMLO has expressed strongly pro-immigration views, mainly in support of Mexicans residing in the US and fearing, but also in terms of welcoming more migrants from Central America into Mexico. In response to Trump’s initial DACA policy announced in September, AMLO responded, “in Mexico, the doors are open.”
Any continuation of hostile rhetoric from Trump could further strengthen AMLO’s accelerating support for the presidency in 2018. Additionally, the difficulties of the current NAFTA renegotiations and Donald Trump’s threats to exit the agreement altogether have even caused Mexico’s current political leadership to state that they wouldreconsider cooperation with the United States on security and migration issues if the US chooses to exit NAFTA.
Additionally, while the Trump administration has ramped up immigration enforcement and proposed additional security measures at the US southern border, it has also proposed sweeping cuts to international aid programs that will hinder Mexico’s ability to sustain its achievements in enforcing its southern border with Central America. As of this summer, the Trump administration still proposed a 39% reduction in support for Central America in fiscal year 2018.
Overall, effective deterrence of illegal drugs and immigrants entering the US will require some combination of enhanced enforcement at the US southern border, as well as aid to Mexico to effectively police its own southern border.
Mexico and the US remain strong partners in commerce and security, but any efforts by one or both sides to further antagonize political disagreements or by the US to cut transnational partnerships could severely jeopardize both countries’ abilities to achieve their shared problems in this arena.
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/world/2018/1ARRIAGA, Mexico (Reuters) - A U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants pressed on through southern Mexico on Saturday, in spite of government offers of jobs, as authorities stepped up efforts to disperse the convoy that has angered U.S. President Donald Trump.
Mexican police in riot gear briefly blocked the march of men, women and children as they neared Oaxaca state before dawn, to relay the offer of temporary identification papers, jobs or education for those seeking asylum in Mexico.
By Saturday, more than 100 Honduran migrants opted to seek refugee status and enter the temporary work program proposed by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday, said Mexico’s National Migration Institute. Many others rejected the offer.
“We’re going to the United States. Because that’s our dream,” said 28-year-old Honduran Daniel Leonel Esteves at the head of a 50-person wide column of migrants snaking down a highway into the hills.
Others echoed his goal to cross the border, declining Mexico’s offer.
“Our destination is the United States,” said migrant Francisco Ramirez.
A police official on a road just south of Oaxaca, where migrants were proceeding north from the town of Arriaga in Chiapas state, said authorities intended to keep presenting the asylum offer.
Honduras said 4,500 of its citizens attempting to emigrate have returned to the country in recent days.
Sure they do. Many of them are America-haters.Invaders was the term the Bomber used. It's racist non-sense.
The likely most reliable sources on this would be non-American ones. Foreign media has no parochial axe to grind.
Clever Central Americans! Arranging for violent crime in their homelands so they could pretend to want to come to America, all to embarrass Trump.Sure they do. Many of them are America-haters.
I'll go with this definition (which the caravan fits precisely) >>>
> "to enter forcibly or hostilely" (Webster's New World College Dictionary, 5th ed.)
We don't know that until they get a hearing in court. Educate yourself! It's the best medicine against your problem.They don't qualify as asylum seekers either.
You should probably do a lil' research before just parroting fake news head lines.
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