Mexican authorities have announced plans to strengthen their southern border controls in an attempt to contain any further attempted illegal migrant crossings into Mexico. The initiative hopes to ensure that entry to Mexico can be carried out in an orderly and legal process.
The border. which runs 871 kilometres between Guatemala, Belize and the southern Mexican states of Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas and Quintana Roo, has seen increased activity in the last few months as migrant caravans made up of thousands of asylum seekers have attempted to travel north.
Heightened violence in Central American countries such as Nicaragua and high rates of unemployment have meant that people have been left with little choice but to leave. Despite increased efforts to dissuade migration, a recent study also revealed that 95% of those forcibly returned to their country try and cross the border into the United States again, exposing the great lengths that the migrants are forced to go to in a bid to seek protection. The risky vicious cycle of searching for a better life and fleeing from persecution continues.
The most recent migrant caravan, of which the majority of migrants continue to await application or legal entry into the United States from Tijuana, made headlines around the globe due to the US President’s uproar over an ‘invasion’.
At least one Honduran migrant was killed aboard the recent migrant caravan, whilst crossing Mexico’s southern border. Eye witness reports explain that the young man was hit in the head with a rubber bullet when violence broke out at the border and he died whilst on the way to hospital. It appears that the new border proposals will attempt to prevent such violence from happening again, especially as news surfaces of a potential new migrant caravan forming in Central America.
As the United States government remains shutdown over a much contested US$5.7 billion funding for the border wall, Mexico now looks to enforce their entry ports according to a statement made by Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sánchez Cordero.
The announcement, made at a recent Meeting of Ambassadors and Consuls, shows that security measures will be increased at 12 points of entry along the border. New immigration policies are expected to prolong border crossings as the Mexican authorities request biometric data and valid ID in order to access the country. Travellers who refuse to comply with the new regulations will be deported.
Migrant trafficking routes continue to represent an incredibly dangerous process, however, a number of Central Americans feel there is little choice than to undergo the trip. Amidst rising crime rates and plummeting economies that force people from their homes, further violence awaits migrants who jump onto moving trains and risk being captured by cartels such as the Zetas or even organ trade traffickers, should they make it past the Mexican border.