Juárez: Migrants' situation worsens with decrease in support services
by Lourdes Cardenas \ El Paso Times
Posted: 10/24/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT
CIUDAD JUAREZ -- The vulnerability of migrants has worsened in recent
years not only due to the drug-related violence throughout Mexico,
but also because of the conditions in which they are being deported
from the United States, analysts said in a conference on immigration
"Many come with nontreated health problems, poorly fed, without
belongings," said Rodolfo Rubio, a researcher at the Colegio de la
Frontera Norte. " They are even deported with the uniform of the
detention center. They have no family or social networks (in the
place where they are left), their situation is highly vulnerable."
The situation has deteriorated even more. Support services offered to
migrants in cities such as Juarez are declining. In fact, Juarez's
municipal office dedicated to provide services to migrants -- in
transit or repatriated -- closed its operations in July.
A spokesman for the Juarez municipal government confirmed that the
migrant services office (Oficina de Atención al Migrante) closed its
operations July 19. He cited budget issues as one of the reasons.
"The office used to support returnees with a bus ticket to travel to
their place of origin, as well as providing them food for the trip,"
said Luis Cano, city spokesman. "Migrants continue to receive support
from state government through the office of the National Employment
System, plus the federal government by the National Institute of
The decline began in 2009 when former mayor José Reyes
Ferriz asked the U.S. immigration authorities to repatriate them to
other places, arguing that many of the deportees were criminals that
could be easily recruited by organized crime. At the time, between 60
and 65 percent of the deportees to Juarez would come from immigration
detention centers in the United States.
Reyes' decision created a crisis to the institutions that provided
services because of the lack of migrants to be served, Rubio said.
In 2008, only 1.2 percent of migrants going
to the United States passed through Juarez, a percentage that
The same decline occurred with deportations. In 2004, 12.8 percent of
those deported by all border-crossing points were sent to Juarez.
Four years later, in 2008, the percentage stood at 9.8 percent.
Today, there are no deportations to Juarez from U.S. detention
centers. The bulk of the deportations (36.3 percent) now go through
The changes have made things difficult for those organizations that
Take for instance, the "Casa del Migrante" of the Catholic Diocese of
Juarez. It receives between 20 and 30 people daily, a figure that
includes transit migrants and deported. The house can accommodate up
to 300 people.
"Due to the increase of violence it was decided to deport people to
other borders, but still, so far this year we have had a considerable
number of migrants," said Blanca Rivera, in charge of the Casa del
The organization receives funds from the Catholic Dioceses as well as
donations from other institutions.
Regarding the possibility of going back to the previous trends in
which migrants crossed through big cities such as Tijuana and Juárez,
Rubio said it would depend more on the U.S. surveillance measures.
"The migrants, the smugglers and the coyotes are in constant search
of the places where the possibility of being apprehended is less, not
where the possibility of risk is higher or lower," he said. "It seems
then that the crossing point choice has more to do with the idea of
getting to the place rather than with security conditions."
Lourdes Cardenas may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6249
Note: an older post but still interesting