Plan Sur Creates “Black Market of Mexican Migrants”

Last week, European journalists reported on Plan Sur, a law enforcement initiative directed at stopping hundreds of thousands of Central Americans from crossing Mexico’s southern borders in order to traverse the country with the intention of entering the US illegally…Observers fear that Plan Sur will result in an increased number of Central and South Americans who die trying to sneak into the US.

Last week, European journalists reported on Plan Sur, a law enforcement initiative directed at stopping hundreds of thousands of Central Americans from crossing Mexico’s southern borders in order to traverse the country with the intention of entering the US illegally.

The plan–which increases the vigilance of the Mexican police and soldiers who routinely patrol the 620-mile stretch of rain forest that Mexico shares with Guatemala and Belize–has already resulted in 100,000 deportations since January of this year. In 2000, for the entire year, less than 150,000 people were deported.

Europeans, especially English journalists, believe that, since July, Mexico has stepped up efforts associated with Plan Sur in order to win amnesty for Mexico’s illegal immigrants living in the US. Such an amnesty appeals to the presidents on both sides of the Mexican-American border.

Bush floated the idea a few weeks ago, but was rebuffed by Republican opposition in congress. Secretary of State Colin Powell has recently revived the proposal.

The European media noted that Fox could use an American amnesty to shore up his sagging approval rate at home. He also needs a point of focus that will distract Mexicans from his unfulfilled campaign promises.

Meanwhile, Bush could substantially improve his chances of winning the presidency in 2004 by tapping into the Mexican vote, especially in California, where most of the 3 million illegal Mexicans are living.

Europeans are miffed at Fox’s apparent willingness to ignore his own analysis of the problems associated with closing borders between nations to stem the influx of illegal immigrants.

During his most recent tour of America, Fox, speaking at a rally in Milwaukee, criticized the US for creating a "black market of migrants," as illegal Mexican immigrants increasingly rely on criminal networks to cross the US border.

English observers in particular fear that Plan Sur will not only fail to stop the wave of impoverished migrants pushing northward, but will also result in an increased number of Central and South Americans who die trying to sneak into the US.

Mexican authorities reported 472 such deaths in 2000. Many of the unlucky fortune seekers had been dumped in the wild in impossible survival conditions by smugglers who had charged more than $4000 to drive them to the US.

Author: Paolo Pontoniere

News Service: NCM Online

URL: http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/chiapas95.html