NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 20, 2006

Migrants from elsewhere in Latin America are considered felons by the Mexican government, and fear robbery and rape at the hands of corrupt police. While immigrants in the United States have held huge demonstrations in recent weeks, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico suffer mostly in silence, say observers.

Although Mexico demands humane treatment for its citizens who migrate to the United States, regardless of their legal status, it provides few protections for migrants on its own soil.

  • Undocumented Central Americans complain much more about how they are treated by Mexican officials than about authorities on the U.S. side of the border, where aliens may resent being caught but often praise the professionalism of the agents scouring the desert for their trail.
  • The Mexican government acknowledges that many federal, state and local officials are on the take from the smugglers who move hundreds of thousands of Central Americans north, and that migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse by corrupt police.
  • The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency, documented the abuses south of the U.S. border in a December 2005 report.

"One of the saddest national failings on immigration issues is the contradiction in demanding that the North respect migrants' rights, which we are not capable of guaranteeing in the South," commission President Jose Luis Soberanes said.

In the United States, mostly Mexican immigrants have staged rallies pressuring Congress to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens rather than making them felons and deputizing police to deport them. The Mexican government has spoken out in support of the immigrants' cause.

Source: Mark Stevenson, "Terror for Mexico's illegal migrants," Associated Press/Washington Times, April 20, 2006.


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