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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mexico immigration law Article 67 has strengthened gangs who abuse Central American migrants en route to the US. Mexico police are known to participate in beating up and stealing from migrants-USA Today

"Article 67 of Mexico's immigration law requires that all authorities "whether federal, local or municipal" demand to see visas if approached by a foreigner and to hand over migrants to immigration authorities."...
 
May 2010 article:

May 25, 2010, "Activists blast Mexico's immigration law," USA Today, Chris Hawley

Vazquez
"Mexico...law empowers local police to check the immigration documents of people suspected of not being in the country legally....And Mexican police freely engage in racial profiling and routinely harass Central American migrants, say immigration activists.... 

"There (in the United States), they'll deport you," Hector Vázquez, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, said as he rested in a makeshift camp with other migrants under a highway bridge in Tultitlán. "In Mexico they'll probably let you go, but they'll beat you up and steal everything you've got first."
  
In one six-month period from September 2008 through February 2009, at least 9,758 migrants were kidnapped and held for ransom in Mexico — 91 of them with the direct participation of Mexican police, a report by the National Human Rights Commission said. Other migrants are routinely stopped and shaken down for bribes, it said. A separate survey conducted during one month in 2008 at 10 migrant shelters showed Mexican authorities were behind migrant attacks in 35 of 240 cases, or 15%.

Most migrants in Mexico are Central Americans who are simply passing through on their way to the United States, human rights groups say. Others are Guatemalans who live and work along Mexico's southern border, mainly as farm workers, as maids, or in bars and restaurants. 
The Central American migrants headed to the United States travel mainly on freight trains, stopping to rest and beg for food at rail crossings like the one in Tultitlán, an industrial suburb of Mexico City....

Beltrán Rodríguez had arrived in Mexico with 950 pesos, about $76, enough to last him to the U.S. border. But near Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, he says municipal police had detained him, driven him to a deserted road and taken his money. He had been surviving since then by begging. 
Abuses by Mexican authorities have persisted even as Mexico has relaxed its rules against illegal immigrants in recent years, according to the National Human Rights Commission.
In 2008, Mexico softened the punishment for illegal immigrants, from a maximum 10 years in prison to a maximum fine of $461. Most detainees are taken to detention centers and put on buses for home. Mexican law calls for six to 12 years of prison and up to $46,000 in fines for anyone who shelters or transports illegal immigrants. The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the law applies only to people who do it for money....
At the same time, Article 67 of Mexico's immigration law requires that all authorities "whether federal, local or municipal" demand to see visas if approached by a foreigner and to hand over migrants to immigration authorities.

"In effect, this means that migrants who suffer crimes, including kidnapping, prefer not to report them to avoid…being detained by immigration authorities and returned to their country," the National Human Rights Commission said in a report last year. As a result, the clause has strengthened gangs who abuse migrants, rights activists say. 

"That Article 67 is an obstacle that urgently has to be removed," said Alberto Herrera, executive director of Amnesty International Mexico. "It has worsened this vicious cycle of abuse and impunity....
A bill passed by the Mexican Senate on Oct. 6 would eliminate the ID requirement in Article 67 and replace it with language saying "No attention in matters of human rights or the provision of justice shall be denied or restricted on any level (of government) to foreigners who require it, regardless of their migration status."  

The Mexican House of Representatives approved a similar measure on March 16, but added a clause requiring the government to set aside funds to take care of foreigners during times of disaster. 

The revised bill has been stuck in the Senate's Population and Development Committee since then. To discourage migrants from speaking out about abuse, Mexican authorities often tell detainees they will have to stay longer in detention centers if they file a complaint, Vertíz said. 

A March 2007 order allows Mexican immigration agents to give "humanitarian visas" to migrants who have suffered crimes in Mexico. But the amnesty is not automatic, and most migrants don't know to ask for it, the commission said."
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"Hawley is Latin America correspondent for USA TODAY and The Arizona Republic"


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