Guy W. Farmer: How Mexico treat illegal immigrants, part II
A couple of years ago I wrote a column about how the Mexican government mistreats illegal immigrants from Central America and other countries. Mexico’s internal security situation has become much more violent since then, culminating in the slaughter of 72 “undocumented” men and women last month at a remote ranch only 90 miles south of the U.S. border.
In 2008 National Geographic – yes, National Geographic – reported that illegals faced “thugs, drug runners, extortionists in official uniforms and (corrupt) police and migration agents” along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. That was before Mexican President Felipe Calderon, in an outburst of breathtaking hypocrisy, came here to scold us for violating the alleged “rights” of illegal immigrants.
And now, Mexican officials again face brutality and corruption charges in that bloody slaughter of illegals at San Fernando in Tamaulipas state, which borders South Texas. According to the Wall Street Journal, “58 men and 14 women from Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil were bound, blindfolded, lined up against a wall and executed.” Those cold-blooded murders remind me of al-Qaida and Taliban executions in the Middle East.
Although the San Fernando assassinations were probably carried out by the “Los Zetas” drug cartel, there were reports of official complicity. Human rights groups say Mexico’s government does little to protect migrants passing through on their way to the U.S. Some 20,000 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico last year, and the Mexican Human Rights Commission charges that at least 200 of those kidnappings were carried out by, or in conjunction with, federal or local police. An April 2010 report by Amnesty International says the trip from Central America to the U.S. border “is one of the most dangerous in the world.”
As usual, the Mexican government promised an investigation and announced with much fanfare that some 3,000 federal police officers – more than nine percent of the total force – had been fired. Some of them will face corruption and/or drug trafficking charges but, unfortunately, the conviction rates in Mexican courts are near zero on such charges. Mexico frequently announces arrests, but convictions are few and far between.
I was pleased when Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong and his opponent, Bob Guimont, both endorsed an Arizona-type immigration law for the Silver State. Meanwhile, illegal immigrants continue to cause trouble in our area. Furlong told me that Rigoberto Vega, who was arrested in a gang-related gun battle in east Carson last month, is a “poster child” for criminal illegals who should be deported. So much for the benign image that illegal immigration advocates try to sell to local media and the public. Don’t you believe it.
• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, worked on immigration issues during his 28-year U.S. Foreign Service career.