Mexico’s Congress Gives An ‘F’ To Country’s Immigration Enforcement
The Mexican government failed to implement clear immigration policies and allowed migrants to be held in overcrowded facilities even before the country began receiving waives of migrant caravans last year, a new report says.
The Interior Ministry failed to establish clear directives to handle migration coming from Central America, while 12 of the country's 24 migrant detention facilities were overcrowded from 2014 to 2018, the report from the Federal Superior Auditor says. In 2018, the facility in the southern city of Tapachula held a daily average of 2,074 people - more than twice its capacity of 940.
This was before Mexico began saw caravans of thousands of migrants arriving at its border at the end of 2018, and before the Trump administration began pressuring Mexico to stop those migrants.
In the year since the period covered in the audit, conditions have worsened, said Madeleine Penman, a researcher with Amnesty International. In the southern border state of Chiapas, people have been held in roadside holding cells for three months, even though the cells were intended for detentions of two days.
Also this year, the Mexican government slashed the budget for its federal migration agency. And amid pressure from the Trump administration, the Mexican National Guard has been deployed to the country’s southern border and has kept migrants from traveling to the U.S.
"We're seeing things that had not ever happened before due to this hard-line crackdown on migrants passing through this region,” Penman said.