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Mexico's treatment of immigrants slammed


Tens of thousands of Central Americans enter Mexico illegally every year, most with the hope of continuing on to the United States. But many stay in Mexico, at least for a time, where they may be beaten, killed, raped, kidnapped by criminal gangs, put in jail or shaken down by corrupt Mexican officials.

That is the grim conclusion of a new report by Amnesty International, Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move in Mexico.

"It is one of the most dangerous journeys in the world," the human rights organization says. 

Amnesty International called on Mexican authorities to act urgently to protect migrants "who are preyed on by criminal gangs while public officials turn a blind eye or even play an active part" in the widespread abuse.

The government responded quickly, saying it "shared [Amnesty's] concern" and was working to find ways to ease the harrowing plight of migrants, among whom there is a growing number of women and children.

Many who set out for the United States from Guatemala, Honduras and other Central American countries end up staying in Mexico because they run out of money or learn that opportunities in the U.S. have dried up. As we reported  last year, this poses a dilemma for Mexico, even as the government here is demanding better treatment for its nationals in the United States:

The treatment of immigrants has become a divisive and embarrassing issue for Mexico. A country that has historically sent millions of its own people to the U.S. and elsewhere in search of work, Mexico has proved itself less than hospitable to Central Americans following the same calling.

The Amnesty report says that up to 60% of female migrants suffer some form of sexual abuse; migrants are routinely forced to pay bribes; detention centers are woefully overcrowded, and victims are too terrorized to make formal complaints, rendering them "invisible."

-- Tracy Wilkinson ,in Mexico City

Photo: Central Americans precariously hop trains to travel across Mexico. Credit: Ricardo Ramirez Arriola / Amnesty International

Comments () | Archives (10)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Stacy041, stop calling Central Americans that name please, it is actually spelled 'cerote' or spanish for a big turd. Not Nice at all.

@Juan Reynoso, I agree with you on Central Americans ( Serrotes ) hating Mexicans. Now the fact is this, Central Americans have for many years jumped on the coat tails of the Mexicans that have established themselves here, have served this great country and have paid the ultimate price. Now they are no longer Mexican Americans but got rolled up into this nice not so neat ball that is called Hispanics. We own a condo in Mexico and have Mexican friends up here in Thousand Oaks who have enlightened us more on this subject, which is why I can now say that not all crime in the states is commited by our Mexican Friends but rather Salvadorians, Hondurans and Guatemalans etc. The majority of the Mexicans are just trying to survive and feed their loved ones. So lets stop hating Mexicans because by spreading this hate, it will eventually come back to you, with a name like Juan Reynoso, trust me, the population will not dissimilate.

Unfortunately, illegal immigration into the United States is highly profitable proposition for both employers and the U.S. government, and it also benefits Mexico, which is the largest source country of undocumented immigrants into the US.
The US and Mexican governments actively stimulated illegal immigrants to enter USA and to work illegally for profit-hungry U.S. employers. Poverty-stricken immigrants , who are often desperate to house and feed their families, respond to the financial enticements...and then are blamed by U.S. citizenry for illegally being in the US.

Felipe Calderon President of the most corrupt nation of the world is a liar, ignorant or misinform about what is taken place in His country regarding the treatment of illegal immigrants in Mexico. Law enforcement in Mexico Rape illegal immigrants womens and take money and property of the illegal immigrants. from central America; that is why central Americans hate Mexicans they remember of this abuse, just talk about this with any central American here in the States and they will tell you their story and experience in Mexico.

Juan Reynoso
San Antonio Texas.

I am a strong supporter of Arizona's new law. I believe our strong laws against racial discrimination will expose the "breathing while brown" mantra to be the red-herring it is.

That said, Mexico's treatment of its illegal immigrants has no bearing on how we treat ours. We are a nation of laws and compassion. We must act in compliance with our constitution.

I like how this article is buried in the La Plaza section when really it should be front page as additional information to the Arizona issue and the Mexican President's recent comments against Arizona's law and treatment of America's illegal aliens. Come on LA Times. I was about to subscribe again after many years and now this? April 28th and I'm just finding this today, almost a week later?

I am so glad the Times published this article, Mexico is hell on earth for the Central American Inmigrants that are just passing thru their territory.

Wow! If you find that interesting you should check out: Article 67 of Mexico's Population Law says, "Authorities, whether federal, state or municipal ... are required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country, before attending to any issues."

As an individual with Spanish backwround and living in Arizona,I understand the reasoning of creating strong laws for iligal inmigration. We complain about the way intended to implement the law, leadng to ethinc profling

Mexico as a developing country has a long way to go before treating it's own people fairly so it's no surprise that immigrants are treated poorly.


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About the Reporters
Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
Chris Kraul
Richard Marosi
Tracy Wilkinson