Tags: Immigration | Mexico | border | immigration | Mexico | Guatemala | pact

Critics Slam Mexico-Guatemala Pact That Aims to Ease Migrants' Trek

By Cathy Burke   |   Friday, 11 Jul 2014 08:51 PM

Opponents are blasting a new agreement between Mexico and Guatemala that aims to help Central Americans making the trip north to illegally enter the United States.

According to a report Tuesday in El Universal, a major Venezuelan newspaper, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto outlined a "Southern Border" program designed to bolster security and protect migrants on their way north.

The program includes initiatives to organize border checkpoints and strengthen security cooperation between Mexican and Guatemalan authorities to make sure migrants are protected against criminal groups, the article reports.

The program will give the migrants a "free visitor card" that allows them to stay in four of Mexico's southern states for up to 72 hours, and will provide special attention to thousands of unaccompanied children making the dangerous journey to the United States, according to the report.

The Examiner's Dave Gibson complained the program does nothing to staunch the influx, and in fact "will only increase the number of illegal aliens coming to this country by the thousands, now on a daily basis."

"The official announcement only confirms what many of us have known all along ... the current chaos on the border, which the Obama administration has sympathetically (and dishonestly) characterized as a 'humanitarian crisis,' only exists due to collusion between the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, and likely the United States," he wrote.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh also slammed the migrant program Friday.

"Medical care, protection, not stopping them," he said, according to a transcript of the Southern Border plan.

"They're going to help them and have been helping them along the way.

"So apparently this agreement is between Guatemala and Belize for now, with Mexico. But who can tell where all of these undocumented people are from?"

"They're not just keeping their border open," Limbaugh said of Mexico. "They are facilitating passage."

Even if security was increased to protect migrants from harm on their journey north, they'll still be at risk of exploitation from criminal groups — and even from those who are supposed to protect them, according to a group that advocates research and investigation of organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

InSight Crime reports there have been cases of Mexican officials selling migrants to criminal groups that the Southern Border program doesn't address.

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