Mexican Indians Who Can't Get into U.S. Settle for Mexico City

By Kausha Luna on September 2, 2015

"Indigenous Mexicans" – Indians – are migrating to Mexico's capital due to tighter U.S. immigration controls, according to Rosa Icela Rodriguez, Secretary of Rural Development and Equity for Communities in Mexico's Federal District (like our District of Columbia).

The Indians migrating to the capital are largely from the southern states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero and belong to the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Trique tribes. These states are characterized by high levels of poverty and have historically been a source of emigration to the United States. Some Indians move to the city after they are deported from the United States. Indians have also migrated to Mexico City as a result of security issues in their mountainous regions, where drug traffickers are based.

The exact number of Indians in the Mexican capital has been difficult to calculate as this population is constantly migrating, but the city government estimates the city's 8.8 million inhabitants include half a million Indians.

Rodriguez explains that indigenous Mexicans in the city hold the same jobs as they did in the U.S.: cooks, waiters, construction workers, porters, or traders. And the youth have limited educational opportunities.

The Indians face "systematic discrimination" in Mexico City. Statistics show that the number of people in Mexico City speaking indigenous languages is decreasing, but that may not be correct. Rodriguez explains, "Many Indians speak a language other than Spanish, but they don't say they are bilingual out of fear of discrimination." The president of Mexico City's Council to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination adds that Indians are often made fun of because of their poor pronunciation of Spanish.