HomeNewsBriefCentAm Migrants Suffer Brunt of Mexico Crackdown: Report
BRIEF

CentAm Migrants Suffer Brunt of Mexico Crackdown: Report

EL SALVADOR / 26 SEP 2016 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Mexico’s crackdown against Central American migrants has increased human rights violations and crimes against the migrants, according to a new report, suggesting it is the vulnerable rather than the human smugglers that are suffering as a result of the new security measures.

The report A Trail of Impunity, compiled by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Mexican non-governmental organizations Fundar: Centro de Análisis e Investigación and Casa del Migrante, traces the impact of Mexico’s Southern Border Program, which was launched in 2014 to stem the flow of Central American migrants seeking to pass through Mexico to enter the United States. (See video below)

According to the findings, the program’s security measures have done little to deter migrants fleeing violence and organized crime in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, but has forced migrants and people smugglers to take new, more dangerous routes and modes of transportation.

While migrants continue to flee the Northern Triangle, a growing number do not make it through Mexico. Increased patrols along migration routes, mobile and stationary checkpoints and raids on remote spots have led to a massive increase in detentions, with 425,058 migrants detained between 2014 and July 2016, the report states.

However, there has been little attempt to screen migrants who have a genuine asylum claim, with only 6,933 asylum applications resolved over the period and just 2,982 people granted asylum, according to the report.

Mexico’s border crackdown was supposed to be accompanied by efforts to tackle crimes against migrants, including those committed by organized crime networks that target them for crimes such as kidnapping and extortion. However, according to the report, there has been little progress in this area.

Mexico has launched a Unit for the Investigation of Crimes for Migrants within the Attorney General’s Office, alongside a Mechanism for Mexican Foreign Support in the Search and Investigation, which aims to help provide access to the Mexican justice system for family members of disappeared or kidnapped migrants. But the investigation unit lacks staff and resources to investigate the 129 cases it has so far received, according to the report.

InSight Crime Analysis

Much of the rhetoric around efforts to reduce the influx of migrants passing through Mexico from Central America has focused on the people smuggling rings that profit from those desperate to seek a new life north of the border. However, the findings of the Trail of Impunity report suggest the principal aim of the operation has not been to dismantle organized crime networks but to detain migrants.

SEE ALSO: Violence Against Migrants Investigation

In addition, the report shows that little has been done to tackle the targeting of migrants by criminal groups. In recent years, organized crime networks have found migrants a lucrative source of income by extorting them, holding them hostage until their families send money, using them as drug mules and even forcibly recruiting them. This onslaught against migrants has led to some of the worst atrocities seen in Mexico in recent years.

Investigating and prosecuting these crimes, often perpetrated by some of Mexico’s most formidable criminal groups, is no easy task and will require far more than an underfunded task force.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 21 MAR 2014

US authorities have discovered a home in Texas where human smugglers were keeping over 100 undocumented migrants against their will,…

COLOMBIA / 6 JUL 2015

A recent capture by Colombian authorities highlights the importance of "super fixers" in modern drug trafficking and the perceived…

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 AUG 2015

Guatemala is in upheaval: former vice president Roxana Baldetti is behind bars; President Otto Perez Molina is facing persistent calls…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…