Mexican Senators Want Safe Passage for U.S.-Bound Central Americans

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on December 27, 2010

Upset at the abuses suffered by Central Americans illegally crossing Mexico, a group of Mexican senators is proposing a law that would offer safe passage for migrants headed for the United States.

The proposal would require Mexico's Interior secretary to establish safe routes for the migrants to ravel by land, sea, and air. According to an article in the December 24 Excelsior newspaper, it has the support of senators from across the political spectrum, including members of the conservative PAN, the centrist PRI, and the leftist PRD.

As reported by the Mexican Senate's daily digest from September 14, one of the sponsors, Carlos Jimenez Macias, "indicated that it is shameful the way that migrants are treated as they cross Mexico. He added that in order for us to ask for respect to our countrymen (in the United States) we have to act congruently."

The proposal would require a dramatic change in Mexico's General Population Law, which requires that persons enter and leave the country at designated border crossings. Americans have long asked Mexican authorities why the law is not enforced at Mexico's northern border. The customary Mexican response is to note that the law conflicts with the Mexican Constitution, which guarantees the right of free movement within the country.

Nevertheless, the General Population Law is being targeted by the advocates of proposed legislation, which is being called the General Law for the Protection of the Rights of Migrants.

According to Senate digest, PAN Senator Humberto Andrade Quezada "said that the General Population Law is obsolete and promotes the corruption of public officials."

Mexican officials are routinely implicated in abuses suffered by Central Americans crossing Mexico, including physical assaults and kidnapping. Drug traffickers and migrants smugglers have also been implicated in violent attacks, including the August massacre of 72 migrants from Central and South America who were gunned down in the northern border state of Tamaulipas.