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Mexico’s Crackdown Is Making the Migrant Crisis Worse

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Amid all the urgent and much-deserved coverage of the family separation policy, the migrant detention centers, and predatory ICE raids, it has been easy to miss the fact that Mexican security forces aren’t treating migrants much better. Partially armed and trained by the United States, Mexico’s police and immigration authorities are carrying out a campaign of fear and violence against migrants—with impunity.

Just last week, Mexican police shot and killed a Honduran migrant in front of his 8-year-old daughter in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. The details are still unclear, but the man was shot near a migrant shelter where he was staying with his daughter. And in June, a 19-year-old woman was shot and killed after the truck she was in ran through a Mexican police checkpoint.

Both shootings came on the heels of the Trump administration pressuring Mexico to crack down on northward, US-bound migration. Given the track record of Mexican security forces—the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa in 2014, the execution-style killing of 22 people the same year, the recent arrest of migrant rights activists, the thousands of migrants who have gone missing during their transit through Mexico in recent years—it’s hard not to expect anything but more violence. And it’s not just rogue cops or the unfortunate and inevitable outcome of policing migration. It’s worse than that. The border has long been a site of violence, but its cruelty extends well beyond the borderlands. Border violence reaches south into Mexico and other countries, and it also seeps into the interior of the United States, as we witnessed the logic of bordering play out in the mass shooting in El Paso last weekend.

The Mexican state has created a security apparatus that regularly violates the human rights of both its own citizens and of migrants passing through the country. The United States—long involved with pushing violent security crackdowns—has played an outsize role in shaping Mexico’s response to migrants for at least the past decade. As Todd Miller explains in his recent book, Empire of Borders, the Department of Homeland Security has been exporting its model of border militarization all over the world, helping to train guards, surveil border crossers, and fortify divisions between states. DHS officials have collaborated with the governments of the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, India, Poland, Turkey, Vietnam, Guatemala, Israel, Jordan—and, of course, Mexico.

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Thanks !

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