Migrant Roundup in the Southeast of Mexico: 450 Detainees (Blanche Petrich, LA JORNADA)

This article was first published in La Jornada at 2230 on Thursday 1 May 2014. It has been translated without permission for the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP).

Migrant Roundup in the Southeast of Mexico: 450 Detainees
By Blanche Petrich (LA JORNADA)

In a second round up in less than 12 hours of Central American migrants in Southern Mexico, around 150 undocumented migrants who were spending the night in the train station of Palenque, Chiapas were detained on Thursday 1 May between 0400 and 0500 by officers from the National Migration Institute (INM) and Federal Police (PF).

Hundreds more Central American citizens managed to avoid the operation and sought safety in Palenque’s migrant refuge. The detainees were taken to Palenque’s migrant detention facility and it is feared they will be deported in the next few hours. Up to publication, and as reported by telephone to this newspaper by the director of The 72 migrant shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, Fray Tomás González Castillo, no humanitarian organization, either governmental or non-governmental, has managed to gain access to the detainees to assess the state of their health or ensure respect for their rights.

A few hours earlier, at 1900 on Wednesday 30 April, in Emiliano Zapata, a township in Tabasco not far from Palenque, Chiapas, another 300 Central Americans were detained and transferred overnight to Tapachula where another mass deportation operation is underway.

Since Easter Friday, when the so-called “migrant viacrucis” left Tenosique, federal, muncipal, and state security forces have used check points to block roads and railway lines traditionally used by migrants on their way north. Additionally, at strategic points where migrants jump the trains along, railway companies have posted more guards, partnering with several police forces, according to Fray González.

As a consequence, over the past two weeks several thousand migrants have been stranded and harrassed outside Tenosique, Palenque, Macuspana y la Chontalpa in Tabasco and in Las Choapas and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

Award-winning journalist Blanche Petrich reports for La Jornada. Follow her on Twitter @blanchepetrich. This article first appeared under the title, “Redadas contra migrantes en el sureste del país; suman 450 detenidos,” available at: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2014/05/01/detienen-en-nueva-redada-a-150-migrantes-mas-que-pernoctaban-en-chiapas-2313.html.

Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP), a quality selection of Spanish-language journalism about Latin America rendered into English. Follow him on Twitter @patricktimmons.

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