Must the U.S. create legal pathways for the entry of immigrants?

Roberto Velasco, Mexican diplomat

Mexico’s top diplomat for North America is calling on the U.S. to do “a better job” of managing rising immigration by, in part, creating more legal pathways into the U.S. for migrants who otherwise face an increasingly perilous journey at the hands of organized crime.

The number of migrants caught by the U.S. Border Patrol hit a high of nearly 1.7 million in the last fiscal year — compared to about 400,000 the previous year when the pandemic started. In January, Border Patrol apprehensions nearly doubled to 147,000 from about 75,000 in the previous year.  

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico are bracing for an even greater influx as the weather gets warmer and the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt Latin American economies, sending people on the move in search of work and stability. In Mexico, with cartel-related violence sweeping across much of the country, a new wave of migration to the U.S. has quickly been growing.

“We need to do better to understand, not just as governments, but as societies, the realities that human smugglers, human traffickers, put people at greater risk,” said Roberto Velasco, chief officer for the North America Unit at the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. “So, of course, we need to create the legal pathways and the right incentives. We need to reject, prosecute and sanction people who put migrants at peril.”

Velasco was referring to tragic recent incidents such as when more than 50 migrants squeezed into a truck were killed in Chiapas when it flipped over, and the plight of at least 13 Mexican migrants who disappeared last September in the northern state of Chihuahua as they headed for jobs in Texas and beyond. A search for their whereabouts is ongoing, although key U.S. and Mexican sources have declared that they believe the migrants were killed by warring cartels.

“Look it’s a sad reality that migrants sometimes end up in very dangerous situations, not just because of human smugglers and traffickers, but also because we face a great challenge with security in Mexico,” Velasco said. “This is something that the security and judicial authorities in Mexico really need to solve and to find what happened with this particular group of people.”

Source: El Heraldo de Mexico

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