Mexico Prepares Migration Program on Southern Border

By Dialogo
June 27, 2013

Mexico is preparing a program aimed at organizing the migratory influx along its southern border, which will involve a joint effort with the governments of Guatemala and Belize, and the implementation of which the Mexican Secretary of the Navy will be responsible for, according to Secretary of Government (Interior) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong on June 24.

The project is a “comprehensive plan covering Mexico’s southern border that will be under the Secretary of the Navy” to assist this area, “which has been neglected in the last four years,” Osorio Chong told the press during a visit with members of the security cabinet in Chiapas (southeast), on the border with Guatemala.

“We don’t know how many (migrants) from Central and South America, as well as other continents, enter our country. We are not aware of their destination or their fate, so we cannot guarantee their human rights,” the secretary stated when explaining the project.

Members of the security cabinet traveled to Chiapas for a tour to gain knowledge on the problems that exist in the 1,000 km border area shared with Belize.

The program will be aimed at regulating the migratory influx as “part of national security policy,” said Osorio Chong, and added that for this plan to be successful, joint work with the governments of the neighboring countries would be essential.

Every year over 200,000 foreigners enter Mexico illegally, most of them through the southern border, according to government estimates.

Once migrants cross the border illegally, they take a freight train known as “La Bestia” (The Beast), and are left not only out in the open, but also at the risk of criminal attacks.

Recently, activists have reported cases of migrants that have been thrown from moving trains for not being able to pay the “fees” demanded by criminal groups. Many of them are killed or mutilated by the train’s wheels.

Migrants travel on top of the train in an attempt to reach the United States border.

A few days ago, Osorio Chong told the international press that “three main check points will be set in order to gather information of the people that enter [the country],” so they can be traced if something happens to them.

The National Human Rights Commission has recorded about 20,000 migrant kidnappings a year, in addition to countless aggressions ranging from theft and extortion to rape and murder by criminal gangs.

I've had the chance to talk to people who have been detained in Mexico when trying to cross the border to the US. Something that has affected many of them is that they are incarcerated with criminals and assassins and left in prison for indefinite amounts of time. Sometimes they are object of mistreat and only receive two meals a day, the same food almost every day. This is mainly at the Federal District prisons, unlike the ones in Chiapas, where they are treated better. I think that a great country like Mexico should seek that these people are treated humanly, since they are not criminals, they are people who are looking to leave the extreme poverty existing in our Central American countries.