Authorities in Mexico Now Deporting Migrants
WESLACO – Migrants in Tamaulipas are being deported before they claim asylum in the U.S.
It’s happening at a new temporary detention space set up in Matamoros by the federal government.
On Monday, a group of about 180 migrants were picked up by five charter buses and taken to southern Mexico where they await deportation.
The group of migrants had been rescued from stash houses in Reynosa and did not have permission to be traveling in the country, according to officials with the Institute of Migrant Protection in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
The group had been staying there for a week.
The Instituto Nacional de Inmigracion, or INM, is the Mexican government’s immigration agency.
They converted an athletic complex in Matamoros to house hundreds of migrants who continue reaching the northern border.
The wait to request asylum can be more than two months in places like Reynosa, Miguel Aleman or Nuevo Laredo; the places they can stay are limited.
Border shelters in Tamaulipas are saturated.
The director of State’s Institute for Migrants, Jose Carmona Flores, cites one example in Nuevo Laredo.
“In one of the shelters we have in (Nuevo) Laredo that's meant to house 80, maximum 100 people, there's currently about 350 people staying there,” Carmona Flores said.
More migrants from Central America are reaching the state bordering Texas, but Carmona notes an increase in deported Mexicans, too.
Carmona said they received about 54,000 deportees in Tamaulipas last year.
At a pace that’s increased about 20-25%, they’re expecting to reach about 62,000 this year.
Tamaulipas is doing more with less. Carmona says two federal programs – Fondos y Apoyo a la Frontera and Fondo y Atencion a Migrantes – meant to help migrants were essentially eliminated.
Another program called Programa 3 por 1 was gutted; none of them have seen restorations.
Carmona says the state sees the newly-converted shelter in Matamoros as the federal government’s response for aid from the state.
The shelter has only been in use for a week or two, Carmona estimates.
Maureen Meyer, director of the Citizens Council of the National Migration Institute, says this holding area reflects something happening across Mexico.
"I think what we've seen in the recent week or two has been increased enforcement efforts throughout Mexico to detain and deport migrants, in part responding to U.S. pressure from Mexico to do more to address the significant increase in Central American migrant families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border," says Meyer.
As more enforcement and detentions increase, Meyer cautions it comes with more responsibilities for the country.
Last week, over a thousand migrants escaped detention in southern Mexico.
"Actually, one of the biggest risks of this is, does Mexico have the capacity to detain and hold people in humane conditions while they're doing their deportation proceedings," says Meyer.
Tamaulipas, for now, could see some relief in their shelters as some migrants head to Matamoros and others for other border states with shorter wait times at U.S. ports of entry.
The group of migrants who were sent to Veracruz Monday will eventually be sent to the same city where a mass detention escape was reported last week.