Friday, February 15, 2013

Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border

In Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border, Michael S. Danielson presents systematic documentation of the experiences of migrant women, men and children repatriated from the United States to cities along Mexico's northern border, with particular emphasis on the Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora, Mexico area.

The report addresses five common problems experienced by Mexican and Central American migrants before and during migration and upon apprehension, detention and deportation by U.S. migration authorities.

1. The separation of migrants from family members they were traveling with when apprehended and deported by the U.S. Border Patrol. Migrants are often separated from their families, friends and loved ones during the process of deportation. This separation places migrants—the great majority of whom are from parts of Mexico very far from the northern border or Central American countries—in situations of unwarranted vulnerability in an increasingly dangerous region of Mexico.

2. Family separation as a driver of migration and a continuing complication for families of mixed-legal status. As the number of mixed immigration status families is steadily increasing, mothers, fathers, and guardians who are deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are often separated from their citizen children, who remain in the U.S. with their other parent, guardians, other family members, or in foster care. This section also examines how many of those deported by U.S. migration authorities were attempting to reunite with immediate family members already living in the United States.

3. Violence as a cause of migration and abuses and physical security threats experienced by migrants during northward journeys, border crossing, and after deportation from the United States. As levels of violence directly and indirectly related to drug trafficking have increased throughout Mexico and Central America in recent years, violence has become an increasingly common cause of migration. Furthermore, the growing prevalence of violence along the border means migrants are often the victims of theft and physical, verbal and sexual abuse at the hands of criminal gangs, human smugglers, human traffickers and thieves, risks that ought to be taken into consideration by U.S. migration authorities when deporting unauthorized immigrants to northern Mexico border towns.

4. Abuses and misconduct committed by the U.S. Border Patrol and other U.S. migration authorities. Based on multiple data sources, the report demonstrates that there is systematic abuse and misconduct in the process of apprehending, detaining and deporting undocumented migrants. One in four migrants surveyed (24.8%) reported being abused in some way by U.S. Border Patrol agents, and data show that Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and particularly the Border Patrol, systematically deny Mexican migrants the right to contact their consulate.

5. Abuses and misconduct committed by local police in Mexico.


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