HOUSTON, Texas — A crackdown by Mexican immigration officials along the nation’s southern border appears to have yielded major results before the U.S. 2014 midterm elections.
Amid the U.S. border crisis of summer 2014, Mexico implemented an initiative along its southern border to intercept the routes of migrants making their way to Southern Texas. So far, the effort has helped curb the flow of illegal immigrants attempting to enter U.S. illegally.
Mexico’s immigration crackdown began in July, and now thousands of migrants are held up at the country’s southern border. The migrants have found it nearly impossible to get through the Mexican border states of Tabasco, Chiapas, and Vera Cruz, according to a new report by Buzzfeed.
Mexico’s new initiative, called “Plan Frontera Sur,” includes placing an increased number of troops and immigration agents all along the nation’s southern border. These officials will reportedly form a “first control line” in order to force all of the migrants to one of Mexico’s 11 official entry points. Two additional “control lines” were established to help prevent illegal aliens, drugs, and weapons from entering Mexico from its southern border.
Officials on the border have reportedly been stricter about deporting Central Americans apprehended in Mexico’s interior.
Aerial surveillance has also been increased to aid in the efforts.
The Mexican government may also be using more unconventional methods to curb illegal immigration. The country has reportedly partnered with a well-known activist group to apprehend Central American migrants.
Representatives with Grupo Beta, a large group meant to give food and assistance to migrants trying to get to the U.S., have apparently started turning migrants over to immigration officials. Fray Aurelio, who runs a Mexico-based shelter for migrants, told Buzzfeed, “Now, it has collaborated in [immigration] operations. It helps with raid operations against migrants. At the beginning, they helped the house a lot with food, taking sick people placers. But suddenly they stopped [over the summer].”
Some experts worry that Southern Mexico will see a significant explosion in crime thanks to the crackdown. One shelter owner in Tenosique told Buzzfeed, “This is just a ticking time bomb. We are filling up the southeast with tons of people, crime, corrupt authorities. This will explode.”
Now that word-of-mouth has spread to Central America about Mexico’s recent efforts, many are likely choosing not to make the dangerous trek north.
Breitbart Texas’ Contributing Editor and border security expert Sylvia Longmire said, “Many Americans don’t understand the power of word-of-mouth in Latin America; it’s like gossip in a small American town times ten.”
Longmire continued, “It’s interesting to think about how the ‘humanitarian immigration crisis’ along the Texas border in the past few months would have looked if Mexico had just started these practices months ago, or even years ago. Undoubtedly, this is the result of considerable US public pressure on the Obama administration, and subsequent pressure from the US government on the Mexican and Central American governments.”
While a recent decline in illegal immigrant apprehensions along the Texas-Mexico border is encouraging, it remains to be seen how long Mexico can keep up the intensity of its new operation. Mexico’s efforts, however, have been far more successful than those of the United States.
In July the Obama Administration unveiled a fear campaign in order to slow illegal border crossings by Central Americans. Print, radio ads, and billboards were used to convey the dangers of the trek from Central America to the U.S. A total of 6,500 public service announcements were broadcast over the course of the campaign. The advertising, which cost U.S. taxpayers millions, primarily focused on the following messages: the journey is too dangerous; children will not get legal papers if they make it; they are the future–let’s protect them.
The campaign was largely unsuccessful.
One 27-year-old Honduran told Buzzfeed that he thought the ads were actually helpful. He told the outlet that the ads helped him “keep in mind all of the dangers” for his trip to the U.S. “The people are more dangerous than the snakes.”
In July, Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby released a leaked document which revealed that U.S. immigration policies were motivating the waves of illegal immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border this summer. The federal report admitted that a significant draw for Central American minors to come to the U.S. was the fact that 98 percent are ultimately not deported.
“The agency acknowledges that conditions in Central America play a role in why the wave is occurring, but directly contradicts the assertion that such conditions are the only significant reason the crisis exists,” Darby wrote. “The report directly contradicts any assertion U.S. government refusals to deport illegal immigrants is not a significant factor in why the crisis is occurring.”
Another internal law enforcement report, also leaked by Darby, states that violence in Central America was not the the primary motivator for migrants entering the U.S. illegally. Rather, the report claimed that the belief among the illegal immigrants that they would receive permisos and be allowed to stay was the driving factor in their choices to enter the United States.
President Obama’s recent amnesty announcement will likely only strengthen such perceptions among Central Americans hoping to come to the U.S. In terms of the immediate future, the number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. on a daily basis may be largely dependent upon efforts by the Mexican government.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.