AP: In Mexico, Support for Central Americans Fades and a Big (Mexican) Raid Detains 500 People
April 23, 2019, 06:34 PM
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From the Associated Press:

MAPASTEPEC, Mexico (AP) — Madison Mendoza, her feet aching and her face burned by the sun, wept as she said she had nothing to feed her 2-year-old son who she’d brought with her on the long trek toward the United States.    Mendoza, 22, said an aunt in Honduras had convinced her to join the migrant caravan, which she did two weeks ago in the capital of Tegucigalpa. The aunt said she’d have no problems, that people along the route in Mexico would help as they did for a large caravan that moved through the area in October.   But this time, the help did not come. The outpouring of aid that once greeted Central American migrants as they trekked in caravans through southern Mexico has been drying up. Hungrier, advancing slowly or not at all, and hounded by unhelpful local officials, frustration is growing among the 5,000 to 8,000 migrants in the southern state of Chiapas.
Frustration grows among migrants in Mexico as support fades,  by Sonia Perez D., AP, April 20, 2019

They might consider returning to Central America.  

“What causes me pain is that the baby asks me for food and there are days when I can’t provide it,” said Mendoza, who fled Honduras with almost no money because she feared for her life after receiving threats from the father of her son.   “I thought that with the baby, people would help me on road.”

So the first sob story in the article is that of a 22-year old and her two-year old son, fleeing the father of the two-year old?  Are these the kind of family values we've been assured that immmigrants have? 

Our porous borders and insane policies encourage Central Americans to make this trek to the United States.   If we closed our border, the word would get back to Central America and people would have to seek other solutions to their problems  rather than leaving Central America.

Members of the caravan in October received food and shelter from town governments, churches and passers-by. Drivers of trucks stopped to give them a lift. Little of that is happening this time. And local officials who once gave them temporary permits to work in Mexico, now seem to snare them in red tape. Truckers and drivers have been told they will be fined if caught transporting migrants without proper documentation.

Back to 22-year old Madison Mendoza and her 2-year old son. 

Mendoza bathed her son, José, under a stream of water in Escuintla, a Mexican town 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the Guatemalan border. It was the first time she has been able to bathe the child since they left Tegucigalpa.   “I don’t even have a peso,” she said, teary-eyed. Many migrants are collecting mangos and fruits from trees along the route and sharing food among themselves.

Some 1,300 migrants spent the night in Escuintla and were heading north to the town of Mapastepec, Chiapas. Mendoza and José arrived in Mapastepec on Saturday [April 20th]. They joined thousands of stranded migrants waiting to see if local authorities provide them with a temporary permit or visa to work in Mexico or whether they would continue their trip to the U.S. border.

Heyman Vázquez, a parish priest in Huixtla, a community along the caravan’s route, said local support for the Central American migrants has dried up because of an anti-migrant discourse that blames them for crime and insecurity.   “It is due to the campaign of discrimination and xenophobia created through social networks and the media that blames migrants for the insecurity in Chiapas,” he said.

So is this priest saying there is no crime in the state of Chiapas which is  perpetrated by Central Americans?

The frustration felt by the migrants is affecting Geovani Villanueva, who has spent 25 days along with several hundred other migrants at a sports complex in Mapastepec waiting for a permit that would let him legally and safely travel north with his wife, two small children and four other relatives.

“I think it’s a strategy by the government to wear us out,” said Villanueva, 51.

That's quite possible.

The article ends with a sob story about another family, this an intact one:

Nancy Valladares, who is from the city of Progreso in Honduras, is part of the caravan that reached Mapastepec. She is traveling with her husband and two daughters in baby carriages.[!]  She said the family hoped to reach the U.S. and find help for her 2-year-old daughter Belen, who she says was born with microcephaly due to a Zika infection, and cannot walk or talk.

So they are making this trek with two little girls in baby carriages, one of whom can't walk or talk.

Valladares complained that they weren’t able to find anyone to give them a ride, and when her family and scores of other migrants climbed on to a truck-trailer in Escuintla, federal police forced them to get down and walk. Tired and angry, many migrants no longer want to talk to reporters.

Villanueva, who owned several small stores back in Honduras, said he left his homeland because gangs had threatened to kill him after he refused to pay extortion.  He said he left to save his life and one thing is clear to him: there is no turning back.

Two days later, the same AP reporter reported that

Mexican police and immigration agents detained hundreds of Central American migrants Monday in the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the groups started moving through the country last year.  Police targeted isolated groups at the tail end of a caravan of about 3,000 migrants who were making their way through the southern state of Chiapas with hopes of reaching the U.S. border. As migrants gathered under spots of shade in the burning heat outside the city of Pijijiapan, federal police and agents passed by in patrol trucks and vans and forcibly wrestled women, men and children into the vehicles.
Mexican police detain hundreds of Central American migrants,by Sonia Perez D., April 22, 2019

It's estimated that 500 were detained in the raid.  Wow,that's a big raid.

The migrants were driven to buses, presumably for subsequent transportation to an immigration station for deportation processing. As many as 500 migrants might have been picked up in the raid, according to Associated Press journalists at the scene.

Some of the women and children wailed and screamed during the detentions on the roadside. Clothes, shoes, suitcases and strollers littered the scene after they were taken away.

Kevin Escobar, a 27-year-old from Honduras, was one of about 500 migrants who fled onto private property to avoid immigration agents. Sitting on the property, he yelled to them: “Why do you want to arrest me?”

Escobar vowed that he will never return to his hometown of San Pedro Sula, saying “the gangs are kidnapping everyone back there.”

So is the solution to Honduran violence (which is bad, but now on the decrease) is for everybody in Honduras to go to the United States?

Agents had encouraged groups of migrants that separated from the bulk of the caravan to rest after some seven hours on the road, including about half of that under a broiling sun. When the migrants regrouped to continue, they were detained. Agents positioned themselves at the head of the group and at the back. Some people in civilian clothing appeared to be participating in the detentions.After seeing what happened, some migrants began walking in dense groupings and picked up stones and sticks.

Sticks and stones to fight with?

Mexico welcomed the first caravans last year, but the reception has gotten colder since tens of thousands of migrants overwhelmed U.S. border crossings, causing delays at the border and anger among Mexican residents.

Last Friday [April 19th], local media reported a series of detentions of migrants in nearby Mapastepec, where thousands were awaiting normalization of their migratory status. Mexico’s National Migration Institute did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The National Human Rights Commission said it had interviewed more than 200 people who were detained in Mapastepec and transferred to an immigration center in Tapachula, across the border from Guatemala.

The detentions came as the U.S. has ramped up public pressure on Mexico to do more to stop the flow of migrants. President Donald Trump railed against the government of his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and threatened to shut the entire border down, but then quickly congratulated Mexico for migrant arrests just a few weeks ago.  Mexico already allows the United States to return some asylum seekers to Mexico as their cases play out. And government officials said in March they would try to contain migrants heading north at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the country’s south and easiest to control. Pijijiapan and Mapastepec are not far from the isthmus’ narrowest point, which comes in neighboring Oaxaca state.


Mexico is deporting. 

In recent months Mexican authorities have deported thousands of migrants, while also issuing more than 15,000 humanitarian visas allowing migrants to remain in the country and work.

A group of about 10 prominent social organizations recently warned that detentions of migrants and violations of their human rights have risen, blaming immigration agents and federal, state and local police. The groups also said the increased detentions have overwhelmed capacity at the immigration center in Tapachula. The National Human Rights Commission also said the facility is overcrowded.

In its most recent statement from last week, the Migration Institute said 5,336 migrants were in shelters or immigration centers in Chiapas, and over 1,500 of them were “awaiting deportation.”

The Rights Commission said Sunday that more than 7,500 migrants were in detention, at shelters or on the road in the southern state. It urged authorities to carry out a proper census of the migrants and attend to their needs, particularly children.

Most of the migrants who have arrived in groups to southern Mexico in recent weeks originated in Honduras. There they joined previous groups of migrants from other Central American countries along with some Cubans and Africans.

Yes, it is a humanitarian disaster, and we can sympathize with these people.   But it's not a solution for the U.S. to have open borders.  Why can't solutions be sought in these migrants' home countries?

 

 
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