Posted on January 25, 2005

Mexican Government to Reprint Migrant Guide

Natalia Gómez, El Universal (Mexico City), trans. by, January 22, 2005

The Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE) will reprint the “Mexican Migrant Guide,” in spite of prompting from the U.S. government and claims by U.S. legislators and NGOs who classify it as a document that could promote illegal immigration.

While a date for the reprinting of a still undetermined number of the booklets has yet to be set, the guidebook can be found on the Internet page of the Foreign Ministry where it is listed as a recommended link to visit.

The first edition of the Mexican Migrant Guide was handed out free, plus it was included as an insert in two popular Mexican publications.

According to the Mexican Foreign Ministry, throughout its 32 pages the guide points out that undocumented crossings of the border are dangerous and against U.S. law; it offers recommendations in order to diminish the risk of death for those who seek to cross the border; and it describes the rights of the undocumented once they are detained in the U.S.

However U.S. legislators and rightwing activists, who accuse the Mexican government of promoting the departure of people to the U.S. with the guidebook, have rejected this effort.

Some legislators, like Arizona Republican representative J.D. Hayworth, expressed anger, as if the Mexican government had published a guide on how to enter the U.S. illegally. They even asked for the printing and distribution to be stopped.

But the Mexican government decided that it would reprint the guide without modification, as it is convinced that it does not promote or induce undocumented immigration.

Moreover, sources in the Foreign Ministry note that the Mexican government has a legal responsibility to do everything within its power to avoid the loss of human lives on the border, which is what the migrant guide does.

Tom Tancredo, a Republican congressman for Colorado, said: “What would the Mexican government do if we would encourage our citizens to violate Mexican law?”

Lou Dobbs, an activist who for more than a year has advanced a campaign against undocumented immigrants on his CNN television program, also said that “the guide is full of tips on how to cross the border illegally.”

[Editor’s Note: Click here for an English translation of the Mexican migrant guide.]