Criminal Groups Benefit From Mexico’s Crackdown on Migrants

INSIGHT CRIME — Criminal groups and corrupt officials are the main beneficiaries of a US inspired shift in Mexico’s policy that is endangering migrants, according to a new report, and the recent US decision to allow more Central American immigrants refugee status
will do little to protect them from abuse south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico’s crackdown on on undocumented migrants crossing its territory in hope of reaching the United States has forced them into “more costly, circuitous and dangerous channels,” says the report from the International Crisis Group (ICG), This policy has made migrants even more vulnerable to violence at the hands of organized crime.

The Zetas are the criminal network most active in the kidnapping and extortion of Central American migrants in Mexico. But some 20 percent of migrants reported having suffered “crimes at the hands of authorities, including robbery, extortion, beatings and illegal detentions,” according to a survey of 31,000 people by a Mexican non-profit that is quoted in the ICG report.

The number of migrants detained and deported by the Mexican government has increased dramatically in the last four years. This tough stance was in part due to US pressure to staunch a surge of Central American migrant children arriving at the US/Mexico border in 2014.

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