Dr. Carlos Barrachina Lisón, a specialist in National Security and the Southern Border, maintained that it is organized crime that transports migrants to the northern border.
Migration, a problem that has been dragging on since the 1980s, does not generate problems of insecurity or an increase in the incidence of crime per se. The big problems do not arise at the southern border and have nothing to do with the passage of documented and undocumented migrants.
“It has to do with organized crime, which is especially found in areas where drugs are trafficked, consumed, or involved in illicit activities,” said Dr. Carlos Barrachina Lisón, a specialist in National Security and the Southern Border.
Professor at the Mexican Institute of Strategic Studies and National Defense pointed out that the problem is the huachicoleo in Guanajuato; This is what is happening in Zacatecas and central areas of the country due to the passage of fentanyl, the violence in Cancun, due to drug use and fights between organized crime.
“And all this has nothing to do with the passage of migrants,” he said at the presentation of the book Las Fronteras de México, of which he is the author together with doctors Aurora Hernández Ulate, from the University of Costa Rica; Jimmy Roldán Valencia, from the Autonomous University of Baja California, and José María Ramos, from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (ColeF).
Of the book, he commented: “Beyond what is found on the pages, we are talking about a regional governance crisis. We speak of a situation of nonconformity of many citizens in a context of globalization. Central Americans and Mexicans aspire to live better. They find themselves in complicated development situations, very complicated security situations, and serious political instability. And they ask themselves: I want a better life!
There is a regional crisis, which is not addressed, an absence of politics. It is an improvisation. It is centralization of positions. We talk about a regional problem without addressing it, she stressed.
By inertia, when there is a serious problem, a serious problem, then the authorities start running, he said.
He pointed out that the issue of migrant caravans showed that there was a problem that has been dragging on since the 1980s, which is the transit of people who go to the United States, because many of them stay in Mexico, at least in a documented way. .
The passage of migrants, he insisted, has been something constant since the 1980s. The caravans came to make this problem visible, but if we realize, the people who made up those caravans were not many.
We do see that in the last fiscal year, in 2021, the US detained 1.8 million people at its border. These migrant caravans, exaggerating, have not gone from five thousand to six thousand people.
Migrants from Peru walk along the banks of the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass, Texas
So how do you get to arrest one million 800 thousand people? And not only that, but of those 1.8 million people detained, almost 700,000 are Mexican, he questioned.
In other words, this perception of the invasion of migrants through the caravans is still a perception that has been used politically in the discourse in the United States. And Mexico has made a reactive policy without looking towards the region, he affirmed.
He recalled that at the beginning of his government, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke of developing the Central American region economically.
“That had already been tried over the last 40 years. It is not new. There have been approaches to the economic development of the region, with strong-arm policies to try to neutralize the increase in violence.
But neither of these two positions has given efficient results to this regional crisis, he maintained. “So, who has come out on top in this complicated situation? Well, organized crime without a doubt!”
And who passes the migrants to the north? Well, organized crime benefits from some improvised policies of the Mexican government to try to meet the pressure from the United States, said Dr. Barrachina.
On the other hand, he said that coexistence on the southern border of Mexico, between Central Americans and Mexicans, is something common. For many years and there are no acts of lack of coexistence or criminality.
Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, practically lives off Belizeans. During the pandemic that the border was closed, there have been many problems in the sense that its economy was affected.
Regarding the number of detentions, of repatriations from the US, he commented that there is no way to measure it: when Foreign Minister Ebrard said that half a million Central Americans passed through Mexico each year, it was by the number of people detained by the US. Right now, it seems that they pass more through the southern border because they detain more people, (but) it is not true.
What happens is that there is a much more concrete interest in neutralizing migrants. In 2019, there were nearly 1 million Border Patrol apprehensions in the US.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, it was reduced to half a million, that is, there was a decrease in activities to neutralize migrants. And in 2021, they increase again and were 1.8 million people.
He stated that migration is not a threat to national security. “It hasn’t been in the last 40 years. Yes it is, a direct threat from the President of the United States to Mexico.”
And the increase in organized crime, the failure to address the economic, security and governability crisis that Central America is experiencing. Those are threats to the state and security. The passage of migrants I do not think it is.
Due to these pressures, the central focus on people has been abandoned and we are in a reactive approach. “And we are in a situation where if there are no noises, that nothing happens, if there are no scandals and a serious accident, because it is not newsworthy and it is not even worth the trouble for the President of Mexico to go to debate about these issues and that Mexico must address at the Summit of the Americas, in the coming days”.
He stressed that “we are all afraid of what we do not know and deep down we are not so different from each other. In Central America, migrants are really afraid of passing through Mexico and despite this they throw themselves!