Mexico Eliminates Migrant Camps on the Border with the USA

View of an evacuated migrant camp on the United States border with Mexico, on November 12, 2023, in Ciudad Juárez. Photo: EFE/Luis Torres

Activists accuse the Mexican Government of violating the human rights of migrants, which includes taking them off the train and persecuting them

By EFE / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The camps of thousands of migrants in Ciudad Juárez, on the northern border of Mexico have disappeared recently, but activists in the area accuse the Mexican Government of violating the migrants human rights with its operations, which include taking them off the train and chasing them.

The edge of the Rio Bravo —or Rio Grande in the United States— in Ciudad Juárez, which in the last six months had been the place where more than a thousand migrants had set up camps, is now empty.

Patrols from the National Migration Institute of Mexico circulate 24/7, to prevent migrants from approaching the border with the United States in an operation that also includes taking them off the train known as “The Beast” before they can reach this border.

Human Rights activists questioned these actions of the Migration authorities because they say that taking migrants off the train and running them off the banks of the Rio Grande violates the human rights of people in transit.

Injured women and children

“It is striking to see how they are injured, without access to medical attention, in those areas where they are taken off the train. There is no place they can be treated and many of their rights are being crushed,” said Rosa Mani Arias, representative of the pro-immigrant organization, “Abara”, in an interview with EFE.

The activist noted that injured women and children have been found, who need and require medications as soon as possible.

“It is very delicate situation because we also found that they are not given any type of medical attention,” said the activist.

However, Francisco Garduño, head of the Migration Institute of Mexico, has justified in statements to local media that with these actions the integrity of undocumented immigrants is protected and the migration crisis has been stopped.

No strategy with migrants

Father Francisco Bueno Guillen, director of the Casa del Migrante in Juarez, acknowledged that these operations have left the banks of the Rio Grande empty, thus preventing people from putting themselves at risk.

But he regretted that there is no underlying strategy to solve all the problems that migration entails.

“We see an empty riverbank, it is full of mobile patrols, both on the Mexican side and on the US side. I think something positive is that it prevents people from exposing themselves to danger,” he said.

However, he questioned the fact that there is no plan for the migratory flow.

“For us, the outlook is not clear, caravans have continued to head north from southern Mexico every two or three months and many times we do not realize it because these people are not reaching the northern border of the country, many of them are staying in places where we do not know what is happening,” said the manager of the largest migrant shelter in the city.

United States National Guard personnel guard the border with Mexico, in Ciudad Juarez. Photo: EFE/Luis Torres

The Mexican government defends its immigration policy

Garduño has argued that these operations, which consist of taking migrants off the train and preventing them from camping along the river, keep them safe from crime.

“Fortunately, we have been attending to the migrants where they got off the train,” he told local media.

He added that the presence of migrants in Juárez has decreased greatly in recent days thanks to these operations and the actions of the Migration Institute in the south of the country.

He stated that the Institute will maintain a shelter near the City Hall where they have capacity for 500 people, providing food and medical services, to care for those who continue to arrive.

USA: Detention of migrants decreases

The region faces an “unprecedented” migratory flow from Mexico and Central America, as warned by the International Organization for Migration, which at the beginning of November reported an annual increase of more than 60% in irregular migration that crosses Mexican territory so far this year.

The United States Border Patrol detained 240,988 irregular migrants along the border with Mexico in October, which represents an 11% reduction compared to the previous month, Customs and Border Protection reported this Tuesday.

Arrests of individuals in family units decreased by 14%, arrests of unaccompanied children decreased by 16%, and arrests of adults traveling alone decreased by 7%.

Of the total apprehensions, 188,778 occurred between official ports of entry on the border, a 14% decrease from September.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times