Mexico.- In recent days, the frontera on of Mexico has made the news again with the arrival of new migrant caravans Central Americans who seek at all costs to reach the United States surpass the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but so far not have managed to go further when running into the National Guard and the National Institute of Migration.
A situation that once again exposes that the authorities and organized crime systematically violate the human rights of people in a situation of mobility, said Cristina Gómez Johnson, coordinator of the Master in History at the Ibero-American University. According to the expert, in the last 20 years, the migration policy of Mexico and the United States has been focused on border security and not on migration management.
Gómez Johnson supports his observations with his documentary and field research Old and new human mobilities: the international migration / forced internal displacement circuit, the case of Mexico and Colombia, financed by the Ibero Research and Graduate Division.
The results of the investigation confirm what other investigations of this type report: the safety of the migrants is not ensured, the actors who most violate them are authorities of the National Guard – at the time of the Federal Police – and the Army. Since 2001, after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York, the immigration policy of the United States has deteriorated.
An untrained guard
In the historical time observed in the investigation, Mexico has become a destination country and the country’s response to grant asylum has been insufficient, Gómez mentioned. “It is true that they have said that migrants are very aggressive and that they attack especially members of the National Guard and that is where I would have the criticism for the way they are managing the internal security of our country.
The National Guard is a body that is not trained for citizen security and that is clearly seen in these events that have just taken place, ”said the researcher. One of the last clashes took place last Sunday, September 5, when at dawn, around 400 elements of the National Guard and the National Migration Institute dissolved the fourth migrant caravan that was staying overnight in the Guadalupe neighborhood of Huixtla, Chiapas. .
After the operation, the group of migrants dissolved into two parts: one part fled towards the Huixtla river, while the other went to the train tracks, from where they threw stones at a contingent of six migration authorities.
In the words of the expert, when there are these raids, obviously people will want to escape, causing in some cases the struggle, a situation that would not occur if the security group were trained to provide citizen security, however, being military, these occur confrontations.
“Migration agents have worsened in that sense, their attitude towards migrants, that is, the migration agents themselves are using force to contain this population when the law has always said that they are accompanied by public forces in case that among the migrants who are passing through there are aggressive people, which of course there are and who may be members of organized crime, of course, the migrant population is as variable as the Mexican population ”, he commented. So struggling is not an element for them to hit a migrant with a child or to try to kick the head of a thrown migrant. “That is vicious,” he added.
Another point to highlight is that, according to the expert’s research, in caravans you live on the edge, in dangerous and precarious conditions. Migrant caravans are characterized by a lack of information on the dimensions of the danger of crossing through Mexico.
Lack of information
People are unaware of the multiple expressions and acts of violence that they could experience on their trip, as people believe that if they travel in a contingent they could get rid of trafficking networks, extortion and other forms of organized crime, said the interviewee. Therefore, the migration of the 21st century is one more expression of the structural violence that is experienced in the countries of origin and that spreads in the countries of transit and destination, he said.
“These migrants are passing through there and are undoubtedly victims of organized crime, but the truth is that it is in collusion with the authorities, either by omission or because they are in collusion,” he said. Gómez Johnson, coordinator of the Master’s Degree in History at the Ibero-American University, also mentioned that in some of the testimonies that they were able to collect for their investigation, some of the human rights violations and crimes of which migrants in Mexico are imprisoned are kidnapping. , as they come to think that they are an attractive group for it, since some have relatives already settled in the United States and even ask for the ransom money from their families of origin.
There is also recruitment to join the ranks of crime, either as “mules” to plant poppies and others, as slave labor and even forced disappearance. It should be noted that in another investigation, the academic detected that some migrants are used by these criminal groups, since they pose as migrants in transit in shelters, to engage in conversation with migrants and thus obtain more information about their relatives in the United States, or other data that serve to know if the kidnappings can be profitable, he mentioned.
This is in addition to the fact that, in some cases, the Migration authorities do not provide them with sufficient information at the time a migrant is detained, or their rights, if for example the migrant is fleeing because his life is in danger, well yes You can request refuge in Mexico, in general they are not given information and even sometimes do not even inform diplomatic delegations the number of people they have detained from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti or wherever they come from, he shared.
“The arrests are very violent, this group, for example, the caravan was waiting for resolutions to requests for refuge here in Mexico and in very bad conditions, so they decide to start walking, because in the end it is a population that is in legal limbo, that is to say, they do not have permission to circulate, for the same reason they do not have permission to work and the Government does not have the capacity to give them what they are committed to by law ”, said the expert.
In an extreme case, the investigator was able to collect testimonies from migrants who affirmed that there is collusion between authorities and organized crime. “Although I would not generalize that because it is a very small sample,” he said.
The great border strip
Although this treatment by authorities of migrants is very even, regardless of their nationality, the most marked differences are in terms of access to information, since in the case of people from Honduras they are the most violated in this regard. .
“It is a slightly younger migration, Salvadorans and Guatemalans have been in transit through Mexico since the civil wars they had in the 80s and 90s, so they are more familiar and have more established networks, if not more networks, more consolidated in the United States. and here in Mexico ”.
The academic found that migrant caravans are an example of how human mobility has changed in the last 20 years. From the encounter with the people, he specified that the migrant caravans are organized through social networks and have their closest antecedent in the movements of the searching mothers of their missing children. So networks can be a broader organizational factor for caravans, but actually the flows of people have increased in recent years.
“There has always been transit through Mexico, it was never something that was problematic for us because they had their own routes and their objective was to reach the United States, as the restrictions in the United States are stronger, Mexico begins to become the great strip border between Central America and the United States and not only do they already want to cross Mexico, but it is even an option to settle, that is the challenge with the Mexican Government, we had not had so much interest from this type of migrants to settle in the country, “he said. Gomez.
This is the case of some Haitians who seek to reach Tijuana, a place where there is a very large network of their compatriots, who are already installed in this border city, so their objective is to get there to have better living conditions, in what is given their regularization to stay in Mexico or move to the United States, because they are also not the same job options in the south of the country, as in Chiapas, as in the north, he explained.
For the researcher and academic, the most worrying aspect of the immigration issue in Mexico is this approach to security that is being taken in migration, which makes us justify the excessive use of violence, the behavior of immigration agents and the National Guard in the latter events that have taken place is not an isolated issue, but rather a result of a State policy that is based on security, that is, on the use of public force that translates into the National Guard and that does not think about the citizen force, which is really personnel trained to be within the cities and not the Army, which is designed to address other types of security problems.
EZLN raises its voice for migrants
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) condemned the recent measures that the Government of Mexico, through the National Guard (GN) and the National Migration Institute (INM), have implemented to violently detain migrant caravans entering the Mexico through the state of Chiapas in order to reach the border with the United States. However, the EZLN assured that the measures also had to do with the impositions on migration that the United States requested from Mexico to prevent more migrants from reaching the border they share.
“In recent days we have witnessed the inhumane treatment that the Mexican State gives to migrants who try to get out of the trap, mute and invisible, in which they find themselves in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico,” said the EZLN in a statement published on Saturday, September 4.
To understand …
Excessive use of force
At least 400 migrants traveling in a caravan were dispersed by Mexican authorities in the state of Chiapas last Sunday, September 5. This group was made up of Salvadorans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans, as well as some Haitians and Venezuelans. With shields in hand, the agents surrounded the exits that the caravan would use, the fourth in a week, to advance on its way.
Some people were arrested, while others managed to run into the town. Activists and United Nations agencies accompanying them on their journey denounced the excessive use of force by Mexican agents. The INM suspended two of those agents this week for having beaten a migrant.
Read more: Who is looking for the 91 thousand disappeared men and women of Mexico?
No human rights
The authorities and organized crime systematically violate the human rights of people in a situation of mobility, explained Dr. Cristina Gómez Johnson, coordinator of the Master in History at Ibero.