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                                [La Jornada, Mexico]



La Jornada, Mexico

Mexico's Hypocritical

Treatment of Migrants


"The double-talk of Mexican authorities with respect to migration is unacceptable, when on our own national territory they replicate conditions deemed to be so objectionable up north."




Translated By Barbara Howe


August 18, 2007


Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

Last July 11, thirty welders from Veracruz began a tour of the southern United States where under the Guest Worker Program - and in spite of counting on H2B work visas to protect them- they became victims of exploitation, persecution and harassment by U.S. shipyard contractors - with the help of local police authorities. The welders arrived in our neighboring country with false promises of dignified employment and good wages, but instead repeatedly suffered under deplorable and uncertain working conditions as well as discrimination and negligence from their employers. This is an example of the terrible exploitation and maltreatment that many Hispanics suffer at the hands of our neighbor to the north.


On the other hand, the Mexican authorities have exhibited a similar hostile attitude toward migrants from Central and South America, who use our country as a stopover point on their way to the United States. At the migration center of Tenosique, Tabasco, a hundred Central American detainees rose up in rebellion last Wednesday in hopes of being released. In Mexico's southeast, nearly 3,000 illegal migrants have been stuck since July, when the railway that brought them north ceased operations. The National Institute of Migration [Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM] continues its deportations, but many of those affected refuse to return to their home countries. In response to the general discontent of these migrants, elements of the Mexican Army and the Federal Preventive Police [Policía Federal Preventiva, PFP] - with support from the INM - undertook a violent operation that ended with one migrant shot, the robbery and destruction of their makeshift homes, and the unlawful entry into the homes of people nearby who rendered assistance to these undocumented people.


In the two cases mentioned, the ineffectiveness and lack of will on the part of authorities in both countries to attend to the many difficulties that confront the migrants is manifestly clear. But what one sees above all is the hypocrisy of the Mexican government, which has repeatedly condemned the poor treatment that its own nationals receive in the United States, when these very conditions are reproduced on its own national territory.


Central and South American migration involves the hiring of cheap manual labor for U.S. employers and the remittances of workers to their families back home, which constitutes one of the major sources of sustenance for the Mexican economy. But this simplistic focus fails to take into account the enormous negative implications of the phenomena on the region, such as family disintegration and the abandonment of cultivated lands, as well as the anxiety of those who receive subhuman treatment from the authorities and employers in a foreign land.


In sum, the double-talk of Mexican authorities with respect to migration is unacceptable, when on our own national territory they replicate conditions deemed to be so objectionable up north. It is also urgent that the current administration devote greater efforts at generating jobs and reviving the domestic economy to lessen dependence on remittances from migrants and limit the drama of millions of [Mexican] citizens who believe they must abandon the country.