The State Department says that the Mexican government, angry that a thousand American volunteers will begin an Arizona border vigil next month, consistently violates the rights of illegal immigrants crossing its southern border into Mexico.
Many of the illegals in Mexico, who emigrate from Central and South America, complain of “double dangers” of extortion by Mexican authorities and robbery and killings by organized gangs.
The State Department’s Human Rights Practices report, released only last month, cites abuses at all levels of the Mexican government, and charges that Mexican police and immigration officials not only violate the rights of illegal immigrants, but traffic in illegal aliens.
Although Mexico demands that its citizens’ rights be protected when they illegally enter the United States, immigrants who cross illegally into Mexico “are often ripped off six ways until sundown,” says George Grayson, a professor at the College of William & Mary and a fellow at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
Corrupt police sometimes violated the rights of illegal immigrants. There also were credible reports that police, immigration, and customs officials were involved in the trafficking of illegal migrants. Migrants who transited a halfway house in southern Chiapas complained to the director about the double dangers of extortion by the authorities and robbery and killings by an organized gang called “Maras Salvatruchas” who prey on migrants coming from the south. There was an increase in the number of such gangs, as well as in the level of violence. Illegal immigrants rarely filed charges in cases of crimes committed against them because the authorities generally deported such persons who came to their attention. Many pending cases brought by illegal immigrants were subject to dismissal because the complainant was no longer present in the country.
In February 2003, CNDH president Jose Luis Soberanes, in his annual report to Congress, recognized the government’s lack of protection for migrants. The CNDH found problems at all levels of government, including corruption, impunity, and the complicity of immigration officials and local, state, and federal officials.
In March 2003, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants, Gabriela Rodriguez Pizarro, reported that she found apparent complicity among traffickers, delinquents who prey on migrants, and the authorities who extort migrants. She criticized the lack of facilities at immigration detention centers in the south of the country, including the use of local jails. She also noted the precarious medical attention at migrant stations and the humiliating treatment meted out to migrants by officials.