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Old 09-28-2003, 08:18 AM
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Default Mexico blasts new U.S. repatriation strategy

Mexico blasts new U.S. repatriation strategy

By Angeles Negrete Lares
The Brownsville Herald

MATAMOROS ? Mexican government officials in Washington announced opposition to the U.S. lateral repatriation program that has flooded Matamoros with almost 200 undocumented immigrants who were detained in Arizona. The Mexican officials said the measure won?t resolve the immigration flow in the area.

Under the program, the United States reintroduces immigrants from northwestern Mexico to points along the Texas-Mexico border. Officials say the strategy should prevent further deaths in Arizona?s Sonora Desert and give the immigrants incentive to return home, rather than try to re-enter the U.S. illegally.

?Our government is strongly opposed to the program because the operation doesn?t provide any comprehensive solution to Arizona?s border migration problem,? said Miguel Monterubio, Mexican Embassy spokesman in Washington.

?All our Mexican Consulate officials are working to watch very closely every repatriation to be sure that their human rights have been respected.?

Mayors of Mexican border cities have also shared opposition to the pilot program, which will last for one month.

?For us, it was a big surprise that the U.S authorities started to deport hundreds of people through our city,? said Matamoros City Manager Ricardo Espinosa Valerio. ?Matamoros is not prepared and doesn?t have enough resources to provide help to all those who need it immediately.?

?It is not new that many people are been deported to this part of the border, but so far we don?t understand why U.S. officials are sending people from northwestern Mexico.?

Nuevo Laredo Mayor Jose Manuel Suarez told The Associated Press that his city has been able to help only about 40 of the 150 migrants sent there earlier this week.

?We helped pay for the bus tickets to send about 40 people home to cities throughout Mexico,? Suarez said. ?It?s a very high number of people and we are not prepared to give help to all those Mexicans who are seeking a way home.?

U.S. Border Patrol officials launched the program to reduce immigrant deaths at the Tucson sector. It went into effect on Monday, and every two days will send between 15 to 300 undocumented immigrants caught in Arizona to ports of entry in Texas, including the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville.

About 323 immigrants have been brought to the Rio Grande Valley?s international bridges since Monday, including 165 people through Matamoros.

Mexican Consulate officials in Brownsville said the program is only shifting the immigration burden to the Rio Grande.

?Far from creating order (the plan) creates disorders,? said Juan Carlos Foncerrada, Mexican consul in Brownsville. ?Sending the migrants here makes the situation more chaotic and that represents greater risks because they are simply moving traffic and flow, changing the risks from the Arizona desert to the river in Texas.?

However, officials at the Department of Homeland Security?s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in Washington said it?s too early to judge the program. Besides discouraging illegal immigration, U.S. officials say the program is designed to save lives.

?We respect the Mexican government?s position, but we believe that our intention is to save lives of hundreds of people who die in the desert every year,? said Gloria Chavez, CBP?s spokeswoman in Washington. ?If we save one or two people who cross illegally into the United Sates through Arizona?s high-risk areas through this program, we can say we?re complying with our main priority.?

The policy affects adult single travelers who are not facing criminal charges. Children and illegal border-crossers traveling in a family will also be deported.

Leonel Payan of Chihuahua was one of the 323 repatriated people from Arizona. On Thursday, he sat at the Matamoros bus station with no idea where he was or where he would go.

He had no money and knew no one in Matamoros.

?We are very hungry and we don?t have nobody to help us,? he said. ?Our future, our future here ? only God knows about it.?

The Mexican government has shared its concerns with the U.S. government, and after several meetings in Washington, the two countries have agreed to study the program.

?Officials in both governments agreed to form this binational group of federal agencies that will work together to study the immigration problem and also to provide better and safer ways for the repatriation and deportation of the Mexican nationals,? Foncerrada said.

He said the group includes officials at the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Mexican Department of Foreign Affairs, Mexican Department of Interior and National Migration Institute.
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Old 09-28-2003, 07:31 PM
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Jerry D Jerry D is offline
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Well, since the Mexican Government is complaining and the illegal immigrants are complaining then I think the plan is working. Now Maybe the Government of Mexico will try to dissuade it's citizens from crossing the border illegally.Let's hope they do.
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Old 09-29-2003, 04:45 AM
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For some reason, I don't feel too sorry for Mexico on this.

New book, "Mexifornia", interesting well-reasoned analysis.
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