“Deploying the armed forces as your main migration enforcement tool sends a message both to migrants, asylum seekers and to society that migrants are a threat and they should be treated as a security issue, like an invasion,” said Stephanie Brewer, the Mexico director at the Washington Office on Latin America, a research institute.
“That undermines and weakens protections for their physical safety,” she added.
At the Casa Migrante San Juan Diego shelter in Matamoros, half a dozen migrants said this week that either they or a family member had been kidnapped in recent days. They were afraid to venture out of the shelter after dark, fearing the criminal groups that stalk the streets.
The shelter’s director, Jose Luis Elias Rodriguez, said he and his employees had themselves been threatened by criminal groups.
But he vowed to keep helping migrants.
“If we leave, who helps immigrants?” he asked. “Who lends a hand if we leave? Who raises it if we leave? Who stands up for them if we leave?”
Geysha Espriella and Meridith Kohut contributed reporting from Matamoros, Mexico.
Originally published at theshocknews.com