16 new routes used by undocumented migrants are riskier

According to Mexico's Interior Ministry 62,274 undocumented migrants were arrested between January and April 2015, i.e. almost double as much as in the same period a year earlier.
Archive / EL UNIVERSAL
14/06/2015
10:53
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The number of arrests of undocumented migrants in Mexico has doubled after the introduction of the Southern Border Program, that reinforced surveillance around the border with Guatemala and prevented immigrants from using the train known as "The Beast" to reach the United States. 

This has led to the emergence of at least 16 alternative routes to avoid detention and deportation, which in most cases are riskier. Instead of the freight train, now thousands of undocumented migrants travel crammed in road trucks or cabins, and are even using sea routes from Central America to Huatulco and Puerto Ángel in Oaxaca, which exposes them to further extortion. 

About undocumented migrants traveling by sea, Rufino Domínguez Santos, director of the Oaxacan Institute for Migrants (IOAM), said: "It is difficult to detect them because they travel far from the coast, which makes their journey more dangerous; boats usually arrive at night to avoid being seen." 

Priest Rubén Pérez Ortíz, director of Casa del Migrante in San Luis Potosí, said that some migrants use conventional transport to travel from Hidalgo to Veracruz and on to Tamaulipas, while others rent an entire bus to pass as tourists. However, most of them now travel in road trucks hidden among the freight. 

"They arrive with respiratory problems or claustrophobia. They feel suffocated because they spend long periods in confined spaces in order to avoid being detected at the checkpoints," Pérez explained in an interview. 

He added that these alternative routes mean migrants can take between five and six days more than before and that these routes are riskier because there are no hostels or places to eat or sleep along the way. 

Number of arrests 

According to Mexico's Interior Ministry 62,274 undocumented migrants were arrested between January and April 2015, almost double as much as in the same period a year earlier, when 33,735 undocumented migrants were arrested, and more than twice of the number of arrests registered in the first four months of 2013, when 30,347 foreigners were detained. 

Out of the 62,274 migrants arrested this year, 27,096 were from Guatemala, 20,080 from Honduras and 10,716 from El Salvador. More than half of them (26,894) were arrested in Chiapas, compared to 7,607 in Tabasco, 12,071 in Veracruz and 3,098 in Oaxaca. 

Along the northern border, 1,889 undocumented migrants were arrested in Tamaulipas, 1,400 in Coahuila, 1212 in Nuevo León and 1,115 in San Luis Potosí. 75% of those who managed to cross into the United States in 2014 were arrested in McCallen, Texas. 

According to the director of the Oaxacan Institute for Migrants smugglers get paid up to 5,000 dollars to get people to the United States, even though some times they do not fulfill their promise because migrants are detected on their way by agents of the National Immigration Institute (INM). 

With information from Édgar Ávila, Fredy Martín and Dinorath Mota.

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