Mexico’s dichotomy

Immigration puts Mexico on both sides of the issue, as a nation of immigrants and as a pass-through territory. It is also a country that wants all possible protections for its citizens in the U.S., while at the same time being unable to provide guarantees to undocumented migrants who cross it or decide to stay there.

That is the dichotomy highlighted in a report that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published, which criticizes Mexico. The organization said that “the Mexican State’s response has been patently inadequate in terms of preventing, protecting, prosecuting, punishing, and redressing crimes and human rights violations committed against migrant persons…”

Migrants crossing Mexico face huge dangers because of organized mafias and criminal activity. On top of that, there is the abuse from state agents and local authorities.

It is true that there is new legislation to decriminalize illegal immigration and protect migrants, but much more is needed. The IACHR’s report said that, once they come into contact with Mexican authorities, what is most likely to happen to undocumented immigrants is to be detained with “little chance” of being released. Not even children are spared from this.

Mexico, according to the report, also makes it difficult for the undocumented to regularize their immigration status, and at times has refused to register Mexican-born children as Mexican citizens, violating the law.

This contradiction between what Mexico demands for its nationals in the U.S. and what it provides Central Americans diminishes its moral authority, leaving it in a situation of frank hypocrisy. This applies both to how it treats immigrants passing through and those who want to build their lives there.

This problem is not a matter of a specific administration. For years, Mexican authorities expressed concern when confronted with this contradiction; however, it is far from coming to an end. This means, as the report points out, that the vulnerability of migrants in Mexico is still one of the region’s “worst human tragedies.”

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