On May 1, 2015, authorities in southern Mexico carried out a violent raid against migrants on and around the train tracks in Tenosique, Tabasco. Acting on orders from the federal Assistant Delegate and local Delegate of the National Institute of Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM), agents from the INM, Grupo Beta (technically protection officers of the INM), and Federal Police used force to remove migrants from the train, throwing them violently as the train was moving, putting the safety of the migrants at risk.
Migrant rights defenders from the migrant shelter “La 72″ documented that the authorities pursued some migrants through adjacent streets, causing the separation of large families and mothers and their young children. In addition, participants in the operation used intimidation against defenders of “La 72” and used coercive measures to prevent them from monitoring and documenting the raid. INM agents detained some staff members from “La 72” in a vehicle, holding them for more than 30 minutes.
This raid was not an isolated event; it was part of a pattern of violence and abuse against migrants in transit in Mexico that has intensified with the implementation of the Southern Border Program.
Given this situation, on May 11, 2015, WOLA and the Latin America Working Group sent a letter to Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, the Secretary of the Interior (Secretario de Gobernación) to express concern about increasing raids and other measures aimed at reducing the flow of migrants. These action have increased migrants’ vulnerability to abuse, assaults, threats, and violence by criminal groups and authorities alike. WOLA and LAWG also expressed concern about the increasing attacks on human rights defenders working to protect migrants.