clear
Saturday September 5th, 2015 10:16AM

Mexico southern border control so far just talk

By The Associated Press
CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (AP) -- Mexico is promising to stem the flow of Central American migrants to the United States by tightening control at its notoriously porous Guatemalan border.<br /> <br /> But messages from the country's top two leaders in little more than a week have provided few details on how. And the scene on the ground is business as usual.<br /> <br /> Dozens of Central Americans who paid $1.50 a head could be seen this week crossing the broad Suchiate River on improvised rafts of inner tubes and wooden boards, in full view of Mexican police on the shore and immigration agents posted on a bridge overhead.<br /> <br /> "I don't see anything has changed," Guatemalan Luisa Fuentes, 56, said as she rode a raft to Mexico.<br /> <br /> "La Bestia," a decrepit freight train that carries migrants north from the border state of Chiapas, still carried many riders on its roof.<br /> <br /> President Enrique Pena Nieto's government says it is catching and deporting far more Central Americans, but it remains unclear if enforcement has increased or just that the number of detentions is simply rising along with the larger numbers of Central Americans moving through Mexico.<br /> <br /> In the U.S., the migration has overwhelmed the Border Patrol, shelters and immigration courts. Top officials, including the vice president, have traveled to Central America with a stern message for those contemplating the trip, and President Barack Obama is seeking $3.7 billion from Congress to respond to the crisis. About 44,000 unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been apprehended at the U.S. border from October through the end of June.<br /> <br /> The United States has been sensitive about appearing to be pressuring Mexico. But at a June 20 meeting in Guatemala, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong that with the economic growth in Mexico, Central Americans might decide to stay in Mexico, according to a senior administration official familiar with the session.<br /> <br /> "We found very willing partners in the Pena Nieto administration," said the U.S. official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity to describe the private session. "It's not something where we need carrots and sticks; it's been more like we need your help and they said, `All right, let me tell you what we can and cannot do.'"<br /> <br /> Pena Nieto this month announced a plan that includes more border inspection stations to help fight trafficking of immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Osorio Chong said last week that Mexico would put an end to illegal migrants catching rides on La Bestia.<br /> <br /> The government had been expected to provide details about the effort Tuesday. Instead, officials just announced the appointment of a little-known politician to head its immigration-enforcement plan. They promised again to improve border-crossing facilities but gave no details on what is actually planned.<br /> <br /> "We have to get more cooperation ... to make the southern border an area of stability, and rule of law," said Humberto Mayans, Mexico's newly appointed head of southern border improvement plans.<br /> <br /> Mexico's southern frontier is less than half the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, but its thick jungles make it highly difficult to police, particularly for a nation already struggling to tamp down organized crime violence and corruption.<br /> <br /> Mexican politicians generally see little upside in cracking down on migrants who simply pass through on the way to slipping into the U.S., just as so many Mexicans have done. They stay only a few days and don't affect schools or services.<br /> <br /> What's more, migrant smuggling is a highly lucrative business that generates payoffs for local law enforcement to look the other way and lots of revenue for legal businesses.<br /> <br /> In a purge in 2010 and 2011, Mexico's National Immigration Institute fired more than 400 agents for allegedly taking bribes, extorting migrants or failing vetting tests. Central American migrants routinely say they have been picked up by local police in northern Mexico, who turn them over to criminal gangs that hold them for ransom. In 2008, an entire town in central Mexico rioted to defend Central American migrants from police who wanted to kidnap them.<br /> <br /> Informal crossing has been tolerated for so long that it has become a mainstay of the southern border economy. Guatemalans resell Mexican goods on the other side, and innumerable bars and dance halls operate on the Mexican side staffed by Central American women.<br /> <br /> "The tolerance exists because both governments know that people depend on it," said Guatemalan truck driver Moises Moran. "All of us who live here have done something illegal at some time ... I have."<br /> <br /> But detentions have increased. In late June, the National Immigration Institute said the number of minors detained through the first half of the year was 10,505, more than in all of 2013. Monthly deportations rose dramatically in May, about three times the number in January.<br /> <br /> For many, the best chance of getting north is the train. But even if officials do make the train harder to board, it's far from the only path through Mexico. Migrants with money to pay smugglers also travel by car or bus.<br /> <br /> On Monday night, Honduran migrant Darwin Ernesto Ramirez, 28, said he had already heard the rumors that this could be La Bestia's last run. Just before he swung aboard the train, he said: "I don't think they can stop this. A lot of us will just wait for it down the tracks."<br /> <br /> "Mexico will cede to U.S. pressure and will implement a semi-closed border in response," predicts Victor Clark, director of Tijuana's Binational Center for Human Rights.<br /> <br /> But rather than stopping the flow, Clark says, it will just make smugglers richer.<br /> <br /> "The prices they charge will go up," he said.<br /> <br /> ---<br /> <br /> Associated Press writer E. Eduardo Castillo reported this story in Ciudad Hidalgo and Mark Stevenson reported from Mexico City. AP writers Maria Verza in Mexico City and Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 8 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 8 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 8 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 8 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 8 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 8 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 8 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 8 months ago )
Politics
From eggs to Christmas trees, USDA promotional programs sometimes generate controversy
WASHINGTON (AP) — The slogans are familiar: "The Incredible Edible Egg," ''Pork: The Other White Meat," and "Got Milk?"They've all been part of promotional campaigns overseen by the Agriculture Depart...
8:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
DUI courts aim to change behavior of repeat offenders
In courtrooms around the country, judges are teaming up with prosecutors, defense attorneys, parole officers and substance abuse counselors to make long-term changes in the behavior of people with multiple arrests for impaired driving.
8:19AM ( 1 hour ago )
Vast and smoky California wildfire expected to rage into Labor Day weekend, campgrounds closed
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A vast and stubborn wildfire that has proven California's biggest this year was expect to spew smoke through the long Labor Day weekend, leaving some campgrounds empty and prompt...
4:50AM ( 5 hours ago )
Oregon judge refuses to perform same-sex marriages, asks couples to go to other judges
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Marion County Judge Vance Day is being investigated by a judicial fitness commission in part over his refusal to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds, a spokesman for the...
3:08AM ( 7 hours ago )
Authorities say arson was cause of fire at Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington state
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — A pre-dawn blaze that heavily damaged a Planned Parenthood clinic was arson, fire investigators in Washington state determined Friday.Pullman Fire Department investigator Chris W...
12:06AM ( 10 hours ago )