Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AZMEX I3 18-5-11

AZMEX I3 18 MAY 2011

Note: It is Mexican govt. policy to aid and protect immigrants until
they reach the U.S. border.

Published: 18/05/2011 13:42 By: SUN
Mexico must do more to protect migrants: AI
Mexican authorities must do more to protect migrants that cross one
of the most dangerous routes on their way into the U.S..

Mexican authorities must do more to protect migrants that cross one
of the most dangerous routes on their way into the U.S., said Susan
Lee, director of Amnesty International for the Americas.

In a public statement said the discovery of more than 500 illegal
immigrants in Chiapas, who were trying to cross Mexico in deplorable
conditions, again exposed the lack of adequate protection of
thousands of people who travel the country each year.

Amnesty International noted as positive that the Mexican authorities
have intercepted two trucks inside which traveled more than 500
migrants from around the world.

"The police in Chiapas, southern Mexico, intercepted two trucks
carrying the 513 immigrants, including 32 women and 4 children, from
Central America, the Caribbean and Asia within the same" he said.
"While it is a positive fact that the Mexican authorities have
intercepted these trucks and an investigation is underway, the
appalling conditions suffered by migrants highlights the
vulnerability of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who pass
through Mexico every year."

In addition, the director of Amnesty International for the Americas
said the arrest of six people on suspicion of smuggling, including
truck drivers.
However, Lee stressed that it is not enough. "Mexican authorities
must do more to protect many people who travel one of the world's
most dangerous routes in the hope of finding a better life."

Published: 18/05/2011 13:23 By: Francisco Reza
Look to end monopoly in Oregon

The possibility of two companies that operate the same routes but
with a different service, is what Tramo wants in Ciudad Obregon,
said Javier del Río Tiznado.
The company president Obregón Modern Transport (Tramo) await the
response from the Secretary of Government, Héctor Larios Córdova, who
met two weeks ago to suggest the proposal. Said they have not
received a response from state officials.

Sheriff's office sees drop in illegal immigrant arrests
By JIM SECKLER/The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:06 AM MDT

KINGMAN — More than a year after Arizona's immigration bill was
signed into law, the number of arrests of illegal immigrants has

Experts say the drop in the number of illegal immigrants being
arrested is due to the slow economy as well as the state law known as
SB-1070. Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB-1070 into law in April 2010. The
law was supposed to go into effect 90 days later but a federal judge
issued an injunction, blocking parts of the new law.

According to the Mohave County Sheriff Office, sheriff's deputies
arrested 240 illegal immigrants in 2008 and 210 illegal immigrants in
2009. In 2010, 80 illegal immigrants were captured in the county. So
far in 2011, about 30 have been arrested for being illegally in the
country, mostly during traffic stops. Many illegal immigrants who are
stopped are traveling in vans in groups of about eight, MCSO
spokeswoman Trish Carter said.

Sheriff Tom Sheahan previously said the decrease may be because of
the nation's bad economy and lack of construction jobs in the county
and the state as well as SB-1070.

Mohave County's seasonal unadjusted unemployment rate for March was
10.9 percent. In April 2010, the county's seasonal adjusted
unemployment rate was 10.8 percent. In April 2009, the county's
unemployment rate was about 9.6 percent. The unemployment rate in the
county in 2008 was 5.4 percent.

In the past, border patrol agents from the U.S. Immigration Customs
Enforcement would pick up the illegal immigrant for deportation.
Under the new law, sheriff's deputies will book the illegal immigrant
into county jail until they face a judge in either justice or
municipal court. SB 1070 makes it a misdemeanor to be in the country

The cost to house an arrested suspect in the new county jail was
increased by the county supervisors at the April board meeting to
$98.74 a day per prisoner. There is also a one time booking fee of
$65 for each inmate booked into jail.

After SB-1070 was passed, sheriff deputies were trained on aspects of
the new law through a video produced by the Arizona Peace Officer
Standards and Training board. The video explained the law and dealt
with the issue of racial profiling.

Note: we are told that the Chinese illegal immigrants come in
directly through northern Mexico.

Illegal Immigration Pipeline From South Asia to US Passes through
By Julie López
Published May 17, 2011

Julie Lopez, Fox News Latino
Suchiate River, on the border of Mexico and Guatemala
The shocking discovery Tuesday of 513 migrants --many of them from
India and other Asian countries -- in two trucks in Chiapas, Mexico
headed for the U.S. border, lays bare the growing importance of an
illegal pipeline that funnels people from South Asia to the United
States. Fox News Latino takes an exclusive look at this illegal
immigration traffic.
Guatemala City --The house was in a residential section of Guatemala
City, just an ordinary structure that blended into the landscape.
But what Guatemalan immigration authorities found inside in February
was anything but ordinary: 27 males, including two minors, who had
not eaten or bathed for days.
Even more intriguing, they were from India – nearly 10,000 miles, or
a 17-hour plane ride, away.
These immigrants, who carried passports and return plane tickets,
were among the 1,688 Indians who entered the country through
Guatemalan immigration checkpoints at the airport or by land between
January and April.
But most of them, like the immigrants found in the Guatemala City
house, evidently had no intention of going back to India.
During that period, only 436, or 25 percent, left by the same means.
Increasingly, Indians seem to be using Guatemala – which doesn't
require a visa for Indian nationals – as a bridge to begin an illegal
journey through Mexico, where a visa is required, to their final
destination in the United States, said Enrique Degenhart, who took
office in early 2010 as Guatemala's director of immigration services.
"An abrupt increase in the number of Indian citizens entering
Guatemala led us to ponder whether they were using this country as a
bridge," Degenhart said. "After exchanging information with Mexico,
we realized that a high percentage [of Indians] entered Guatemala due
to the visa status modification and crossed the border illegally onto
New Visa Rules Lead to Rise in Indian Migration
Indians have been allowed to enter Guatemala without a visa since
2009, after diplomatic and commercial relations were established with
India, and in response to India's offer of a $10 million credit line
and other assistance, according to the Indian embassy.
The changes precipitated a clear uptick in Indian travel to Guatemala.
While only 304 Indians entered the country legally in 2008, the
number tripled the following year, and continued to increase.
Degenhart says he was alarmed when he realized how many Indians
entered the country legally in 2010, a total of 4,966, while only
1,058 exited the country legally – that was only 21 per cent of those
who entered.
These numbers turn Guatemala into a giant waiting room, a
geographical prelude, for the bottle neck that Mexico has become for
Indians and other undocumented immigrants heading to the United States.
The impact of the easier access to Guatemala for people from India
grew crystal clear a little over a year ago, when U.S. border
authorities identified an influx of Indian citizens crossing over
Indians Are "Most Significant" Human Smuggling Trend
U.S. immigration officials say that after Latin Americans, people
from India are the largest group of migrants caught crossing the
Southwest border.
Indeed, while people from India account for one of the largest groups
of legal immigrants in the United States -- foreign-born Indians,
many of whom come to the United States on employment-based visas,
numbered 1.5 million in 2006, according to the U.S. Census -- they
also accounted for 2.3 percent of all U.S. undocumented immigrants.
A 2008 Migration Policy Institute report said: "The number of
unauthorized immigrants from India grew faster than the number of any
other immigrant group between 2000 and 2006."
Kumar Kibble, the deputy director for U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, or ICE, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying
that Indian migration is the "most significant" human smuggling trend
being tracked by U.S. authorities.
"For the most part it's the jobs," said a senior U.S. law enforcement
official, with direct knowledge about human smuggling on the
Southwest border, about what draws the migrants. "The economic
opportunities, they come for a better life."
"The Indian nationals will pay from $35,000 to $75,000 to get to the
United States," said the official, who spoke on the condition that he
not be identified.
In 2009, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested 99 India nationals along the
Southwest border.
In early 2010, at least 1,600 Indians were caught in Texas alone. An
undetermined number made it across the border undetected among
immigrants from other nationalities, particularly Central American,
who aren't required visas to enter Guatemala either.
In 2011, the number of Indians entering Guatemala legally continues
to grow. By April, the monthly average of Indians entering had grown
by 10.
A Man Carried 50 Indian Passports
Last March, a man was arrested in Guatemala's international airport,
en route to Ecuador, with 50 passports from India while trying to
leave the country with a fake passport.
In November 2010, an Indian citizen, Adil Vali Mohammed, was arrested
after leaving Guatemala and arriving at the New Delhi airport
carrying 31 Indian passports. Degenhart suspects that these documents
were being used by Indians to enter Guatemala and then were sent back
to India to be used by another group traveling to Guatemala.
Police authorities in New Delhi said that Mohammed's arrest led to
the discovery of a human trafficking network that transports Indians
to the United States through Mexico or Canada, after they arrive in
Guatemala, according to Indian press reports.
"If a country has less visa requirements, or corrupt officials, or
there's a country where they have better contacts, that the country
[traffickers] will travel through to get to the United States," said
the U.S. senior law enforcement official. "The trafficking networks
are fluid, they'll go to where the opportunity is."
In 2010, at least 200 Indians were denied entry to Guatemala, mostly
because they carried invalid travel or identification documents,
according to immigration authorities, who are also investigating
whether immigration officials are involved in the trafficking network.
Central American immigrants, too, have begun to notice Indians in
their travels.
"[Last February], I saw three Indians while travelling through Oaxaca
on board a small train," said Jonathan, a Honduran migrant passing
through Guatemala. "There were about one hundred of us in there; most
were from Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua."
Guatemala's Borders Are Vulnerable
Visa requirements do not stop the flow of undocumented immigrants
from other continents. The main reason: It's relatively easy to enter
Guatemala, even illegally.
Some fly directly to Guatemala if they are not required a visa to
enter; others get in without valid identification or travel documents
due to the country's weak border protection.
Degenhart said that Indians had been using the Caribbean to reach
Mexico, but when visa policies were strengthened in the Caribbean,
traffickers switched their routes to Guatemala in 2010 due to the
visa exemption.
Before February's case, no large groups of Indians had been caught
since the late 1990s.
Guatemala has visa requirement exemptions for 84 countries. Among
them are Taiwan, Madagascar, Malaysia and Russia, but no citizens
from these countries have been spotted trying to cross over to Mexico.
The trafficker responsible for locking up the 27 Indian immigrants
remains unidentified.
"Not a Single Coyote Has Been Convicted"
Mauro Guzmán, president of the Migrants Commission in the Guatemalan
Congress, said that "not a single coyote [trafficker] has been
convicted in Guatemala, which is the reason why they operate with
such impunity."
Guzmán attributed the lack of convictions partly to corruption, and
to the fact that most immigrants shy away from accusing the
traffickers to avoid delaying their journey to the United States or
their return to their home country, or because they fear reprisals
from the traffickers.
"Some of them know where the immigrants [and their families] live,"
the congressman said.
Also, some undocumented immigrants, or even the documented ones, opt
to avoid legal procedures that could keep them from continuing their
path to the United States because they have already paid a high sum
of money for the journey, or they owe at least half of it.
Degenhart says that the Public Ministry, not immigration authorities,
investigates these cases.
Immigration only administers the official immigration checkpoints, to
ensure that travelers allowed into the country have the proper
Guzmán warns that trafficking immigrants is not directly addressed by
Guatemalan law, that there are no police, prosecutors and judges
specialized in immigration issues, a situation he hopes a new law
initiative could change if approved in 2011 -- an unlikely scenario
considering this is an election year.
In the meantime, after the November arrest in the New Delhi airport,
Indian police has identified the kingpin of at least one trafficking
network as "Ronnie," an India native who waits for the Indian
immigrants in Guatemala and puts them up at safe houses. Yet,
Guatemalan police has been unable to locate him.
Immigration Control At Airports Is in Hands of Airlines
Six years ago, the immigration controls linked to air travel were
placed in the hands of the airlines. But this year, at Degenhart's
request, immigration will reinstall a check point for passengers
leaving the country, and stricter controls will also be placed at
land borders with El Salvador and Honduras.
"The flow [of undocumented immigrants] has decreased considerably
because we have strengthened several checkpoints," Degenhart
explained, although he acknowledges that the blind spots used by most
undocumented immigrants remain unguarded. "Our northern and southern
borders are so vast, and our army is so limited in number of troops,
that it's easy to traffic people through the same blind spots used to
traffic drugs and weapons."
Guatemala lacks an equivalent of the U.S. Border Patrol, and the army
numbers only 17,100 soldiers -- or one for every 818 inhabitants --
although President Alvaro Colom wants to increase them to 21,100 if
the budget allows. The only means of increasing security is passing a
tax reform that opposition parties in the Congress also see as a
political liability given the present electoral year.
Degenhart has asked the Ministry of Foreign Relations to change the
entry requirements for Indians, obliging them to have a stamped visa
on their passport before arriving in Guatemala.
Whether his policies to beef up security in immigration check points
at airports, and borders with El Salvador and Honduras, will last
into the new administration taking office in 2012 remains to be seen.
In the meantime, undocumented immigrants -- including Indians, once
their visa exemption is removed -- have very few choices for
accessing Mexico and the United States other than to travel through
After finding the 27 Indian immigrants in February, Degenhart is
convinced that there are mafias dedicated to trafficking them through
"Mexico detains and takes them to a shelter," he said, "but they
become a problem because they don't carry travel and identification
documents, so Mexican authorities don't know if the immigrants are
from India, Pakistan or any other country."
Then, it can be unclear to where they should be deported, despite the
fact that Mexico, for instance, lays the groundwork for their expulsion.
In 2010, for example, some 350 Indians were held at Mexican
immigration shelters for deportation.
"We expect that the reinstatement of visa requirements for them [in
Central America] is treated as an urgent matter, so they cannot
longer use Guatemala as a bridge," Degenhart said.
Julie López is a freelance writer based in Guatemala.

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