This week the Mexican online news outlet Animal Politico released a special investigative series titled “Programa Frontera Sur: Una cacería de migrantes“ (“Southern Border Program: A hunt for migrants”), which examines the Mexican government’s recently implemented and controversial southern border security strategy. Announced in July 2014, the plan’s stated purpose is twofold: to protect the human rights of migrants who enter and pass through Mexico, and to bring order to border crossings. However, Animal Politico’s investigation argues that Mexico has become a kind of hunting ground for migrants, using the plan’s promise of increased security and protection as an excuse to crackdown on migration through Mexico.
The investigative series is divided into three parts and contains video clips, graphics, and photos. The series also features a space for discussion among migration experts. WOLA’s Mexico and Migrant Rights expert Maureen Meyer participates as one of the debaters, alongside other experts such as Fray Tomás González of the migrant shelter La 72, and Oscar Martínez of the news site El Faro and author of The Beast. Every Monday until May 18, the site will post a new topic of debate and invite readers to join the experts’ discussion.
The current topic of discussion focuses on the results of Southern Border Program thus far. WOLA’s Meyer asserts that the program’s increased enforcement efforts “have been accompanied by multiple accusations of abuse by the authorities involved,” as well as “a dramatic increase in the detention and deportation of migrants.” Meyer continues, “The rapid return of these migrants—including more than 18,000 Central American minors in 2014—calls into question how concerned Mexican authorities actually are about the security of this population, and if they are taking the necessary steps to identify individuals with a right to protection in Mexico, including victims of trafficking and other serious crimes. Various reports from returned Central American migrants indicate that Mexican authorities do not even ask whether migrants have a fear of returning to their home country.”
(Photo courtesy of Animal Politico)
As WOLA has previously reported, migrants in Mexico are more vulnerable than ever. Mexico’s increased enforcement has pushed migrants even further into the periphery, causing them to take more clandestine routes and isolating them from the network of support provided by migrant shelters along the traditional routes. Rather than continuing to increase enforcement operations, Mexico must focus on strengthening its protection capacities and increase training for migration agents on the identification of asylum seekers and trafficking victims.