Memo From Middle America | Poll Finds Xenophobia, Anti-Immigrant Discrimination, Intolerance Of Cultural Diversity—In Mexico
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“Explicit attitudes of xenophobia and discrimination toward immigrants, and intolerance toward the cultural diversity of our country.”

That was a government agency’s recent summary of what a poll of citizens found.

But the poll was in Mexico—and the government agency was Conapred, the “Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación” (National Council For The Prevention Of Discrimination).

For years we’ve been lectured by Mexican government officials about how we should treat Mexican illegal aliens. But, more recently, publicity has begun to be directed toward the bad treatment of illegal aliens in Mexico.

We’re talking about illegal aliens from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, countries that are much poorer than Mexico. Most of these Central Americans are passing through Mexico in order to get to the U.S, although some do stay. Many are victimized by officials, private citizens or both. Illegal aliens are robbed, raped and sometimes killed. A particular gruesome massacre in 2010 left 72 dead.

I’ve been writing about this phenomenon on for years. Here are my articles on the subject, in reverse chronological order;

According to Amnesty International’s Rupert Knox:

Despite the Mexican government’s promise of change, systematic abuses against migrants continue unabated with laws and other official measures having little or no impact. Prevention and punishment of these crimes remains a rare exception.

Mexico Still Failing to Protect Migrants Impacto Dec. 15, 2011

Now even the Mexican government is having to admit there’s a problem.

The poll is entitled Enadis, an acronym for La Encuesta Nacional sobre Discriminación en México (“National Survey on Discrimination in Mexico”).  Poll-takers interviewed 52,095 Mexicans, in the 31 states and the Federal District, Mexico’s equivalent of the District Of Columbia.

According to the Notimex service, this poll “revealed that discrimination and xenophobia against the migrant population persists in the country.”[ Persiste discriminación a migrantes pese a mayor tolerancia: Conapred,  Notimex, February 28, 2012]

At the official presentation of the poll results, in February, Gustavo Mohar Betancourt, secretary of Population, Migration and Religious Affairs of SEGOB, Mexico’s interior department

…affirmed that the global phenomenon of discrimination occupies an important place in the public agenda and the country has joined an international dialogue over tolerance and multiculturalism to reverse xenophobic reactions and to integrate foreign persons.

Mohar made an interesting observation

“The undersecretary explained that the fact that less than a million foreigners reside in Mexico means that there is little contact with them, that it is not a common practice, therefore the reactions of fear and rejection are present.

And, he linked it with the situation in the United States.

…Mohar Betancourt expressed that the great challenge of the country is in terms of social recognition and of respect for the rights of the Central American migrants, just as in recent years has been done with the Mexicans in the U.SA.

Presentación de Resultados de la ENADIS 2010 sobre Personas Migrantes, Consejo Nacional Para Prevenir La Discriminación, February 28, 2012

Let’s take a look at some of the Enadis results. (Here’s a PDF of the questionnaire: Encuesta Nacional sobre Discriminación en México Enadis 2010 Resultados Generales)

It’s interesting though that, even by Mexican government standards, many Mexicans are considered discriminatory. A curious question presented to respondents (page 22) was

Would you be willing or not be willing to permit that people live in your house who are—?

(Fill in the blank with "With Disabilities", "Of Another Religion", "Of Another Raza", "With A Different Culture", “Foreigners”, "With Political Ideas Different From Yours", "With HIV/AIDs", "Homosexuals", "Lesbians".)


The poll thus presents the question of who you would allow to reside in your house as the test of discrimination, which is rather questionable.

And one of the possibilities was “foreigners”—in other words, would you allow a foreigner to reside in your house?

A majority, though not a resounding one, of 58.3% would allow foreigners in their home, while 12.5% responded “Yes, partly”, and 26.6% responded with a flat-out No.

Another question, on page 34:

“How much do you believe the rights of Central American migrants in Mexico are respected?” (¿Qué tanto cree usted que en México se respetan los derechos de las personas migrantes centroamericanas?)

Here, the principal answers were Nada (not at all) at 29.9%, Poco at 29.7%, with 24.2% responding Algo (Some). Only 11.8% said “Mucho” (Much, a lot).

Another question about respecting rights:

“How much are the rights of ____________________respected or not respected?” 

A few relevant examples:

  • Persons of another race”—Only 28.2% believed that their rights were respected, while 36.9% said Poco (a little) and Nada 30.4%
  • “Indigenous Persons”—Only 22.4% said Mucho, 31.3% Poco and 44.1% Nada.
  • “Migrant Persons”—The poll reported that 20.3% thought they got a lot of respect, 34.7% said Poco and 40.8%—nearly half the population—said Nada.

Elsewhere in the poll, the question was asked (page 94): “How much do you think that the rights of migrants are respected in Mexico?”

To this question, 58.1% responded Poco, 7.2% responded Nada, while 29.8% responded Mucho.

In part of the poll, migrants themselves were interviewed. When asked (page 96) what the biggest problem confronting migrants is, they answered unemployment at 23.5%, discrimination at 20.5% and insecurity at 17%, 16.3% responded “I don’t know” while 14.4% said the lack of legal documentation was their biggest problem.

Security is indeed a big problem for illegal aliens in Mexico—and for that matter for Mexicans too. If the Mexican government can’t protect Mexicans, how can it protect Central American illegal aliens?

At the document’s presentation, Conapred president Ricardo Bucio made an interesting observation: he pointed out that the poll revealed 66.7% of those polled believe that foreigners provoke divisions—and that this belief is higher than the national average in the cities of Tapachula and Tenosique.

Where are Tapachula and Tenosique?

Tapachula is near the border with Guatemala. Tenosique is on an illegal alien smuggling route. So, yes, it’s not surprising that people who live in areas with a high flow of illegal aliens might get the impression that foreigners cause divisions.

My conclusion: This whole illegal alien mess is a humanitarian disaster on a continental scale.

The U.S.A allows and even encourages illegal immigration. This attracts illegal aliens from Mexico and Central American countries. Mexico defends its citizens who emigrate illegally and meddles in the U.S. to keep the borders open.

Central American governments tacitly encourage emigration as well. But for Central American migrants, the trip across Mexico is brutal and dangerous and they’re often treated badly. At the same time, all the havoc causes problems in Mexico. So it’s a vicious circle.

And it ought to be stopped. At least we could do our part, by closing our border and making it clear that the age of mass immigration in the U.S., both legal and illegal, is at an end.

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.

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