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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Mexico's southern border snares Central American migrants

    Mexico's southern border snares Central American migrants

    As Mexico defends rights in the United States, it faces criticism of its own treatment of immigrants.

    By Jeremy Schwartz
    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    CIUDAD HIDALGO, Michoacn — The wide and shallow Suchiate River separating Mexico and Guatemala is no barrier. Men with rafts will take anything or anyone across it for about a dollar.

    Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America, most hoping to make it to the United States, cross the river on huge inner tubes and enter Mexico on the easiest part of an often-hellish journey.

    Dennis Enrique Corea, a 17-year-old Honduran migrant, made the passage this week, hoping to travel on to Atlanta, where his aunt has lived for years.

    But after setting foot on Mexican soil, Corea was searched by Mexican soldiers, who he says stole his money and — perhaps more important — his aunt's phone number and address. All he can remember is the number starts with "404," an Atlanta area code.

    "It's like (the Mexican authorities) they don't have any kids of their own," Corea said from a migrant shelter in nearby Tapachula. "It's like they don't know what it's like to suffer."

    Immigration is certain to be a major topic when President Bush visits Mexico next week.

    As Mexican officials vigorously defend the rights of Mexicans in the United States, Mexico faces criticism of its own treatment of Central American immigrants, who often encounter corrupt officials and inhumane conditions.

    Mexico's inability to seal its chaotic southern border has long been a sticking point in negotiating immigration reform with the United States.

    Bush and a newly elected Democratic congressional majority support the kind of immigration laws Mexico would like to see passed by the U.S. Congress.

    But before that happens, pressure is mounting on new Mexican President Felipe Calderon to fulfill his vow to fix his country's contradictory laws and bring order to the borders.

    After they arrive in Mexico, illegal immigrants face an army of corrupt and thieving officials, violent gangs called maras and dangerous rides on top of trains, which leave many dead or limbless.

    Corea's first attempt at reaching Atlanta was cut short last year when he slipped off a moving train near San Miguel de Allende and cut open his foot. He was deported to Honduras after going to a hospital.

    When it comes to enforcing immigration laws, Mexico is caught between two clashing pressures, said Carmen Fernandez, immigration expert at the College of the Southern Border.

    On one side is the pressure to reinforce its southern border and stop the wave of Central American immigrants flooding north.

    On the other side are calls to respect the human rights of Central Americans. Officials know they are open to charges of hypocrisy if Mexico harasses Central Americans and then complains to U.S. officials about treatment of Mexicans.

    "For the migrants that try to cross the national territory, we can't give less guarantees than those we demand for Mexican migrants," Mexico's immigration chief Cecilia Romero said.

    Calderon is expected to announce a series of changes, including an expanded temporary work visa program for Central Americans and improvements to immigration detention centers, which critics say can be dungeonlike. He has formed new special border police forces.

    But at the top of most migrant advocates' list is changing a law that makes illegally entering the country a crime punishable by up to two years in prison. Mexican leaders howled when U.S. Republicans proposed similar legislation. ... order.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Hosay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Hypocrites. If we had known they make it a crime punishable by 2 years in prison last spring, that would have been rhetorical ammunition.
    "We have a sacred, noble obligation in this country to defend the rule
    of law. Without rule of law, without democracy, without rule of law being
    applied without fear or favor, there is no freedom."

    Senator Chuck Schumer 6/11/2007

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