Mexico Keeps Migrants at Bay with Regional Visas

The Mexican government, reportedly anxious to avoid trouble with the Trump administration, has come up with a new wrinkle in its efforts to keep Central American migrants away from the U.S. border.

The new wrinkle is regional visas.  Migrants entering Mexico from the countries to its south–primarily Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras–are now being offered $200 in Mexican pesos and a regional visa, good only for stay in one of four southern Mexico states: Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco, and Quintano Roo. Should a migrant leave the southern region heading north, he would have to travel at least 950 miles illegally and be subject to arrest and deportation.

Migrants, predictably, are expressing outrage over the policy.  Most insist that their true destination is not the United States but cities in northern Mexico, such as Tijuana and Monterrey, near the Texas border.  Complained one, “Monterrey is a perfect city for me. If the government would just let me live and work in the north, I know my life would be better. . . I don’t want to live in southern Mexico. It’s too much like Guatemala.” He then declared, “I don’t want to live in the United States, but I know it’s a country of immigrants, and look how prosperous it is. Mexico needs to . . . let us live and work wherever we want. Migrants can make Mexico prosperous, too.”

But only if they’re close to the United States, apparently.

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