Migrants, Homeless Face Eviction

Officials in the northern Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo are expected to evict homeless residents of the downtown quarter soon. Juan Ernesto Rivera Gomez, civil protection director, said the operation will proceed with the participation of the local fire department and Tamaulipas state police.

Rivera said between 30 and 40 men have erected a tent city in a section of downtown, while a woman has set up camp on another corner and challenged previous efforts to relocate her by filing a human rights complaint. The Nuevo Laredo official added that homeless individuals panhandle the public and then consume alcohol.

“They have their modus operandi,” Rivera said. “The majority are not from here. We are going to seek a way to send them to their place of origin in a bus.” The homeless individuals slated for removal include deportees from the United States as well as persons with mental health issues who have been abandoned by their families.

The presence of homeless deportees in Nuevo Laredo, a city known for its frequent outbursts of narco-violence, raises the issue of what happens to migrants sent back to Mexico from the United States.

By one measure, many-if not most-are having a difficult time reintegrating back into Mexican society. Although hundreds of thousands of Mexicans are deported from El Norte every year, a Mexican federal program under the auspices of the Labor Secretariat and designed to place deportees in border area jobs found employment for only 293 people last year-down from 7,377  in 2009.

The Labor Secretariat also provides deportees who choose to leave the border for their hometowns with monetary support ranging from $40 to $80 in addition to transportation expenses of up to $120.00.  Some entities such as Michoacan have state programs to aid deportees, but the federal Migrant Support Fund was cut back from about $25 million last year to less than $20 million this year.

Sources: La Jornada, August 12, 2013. Article by Carlos Figueroa. El Semanario de Nuevo Mexico/Agencia Reforma, July 11, 2013. Article by Veronica Gascon.


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