Each year, tens of thousands of migrants transit through Mexico with the goal of reaching the United States. This journey is fraught with danger and many experience extreme violence along the way. According to Mexico’s Nation Human Rights Commission (CNDH), a staggering 11,333 migrants were victims of kidnapping from April 2010 to September 2010. However, the humanitarian crisis of migrants in Mexico extends beyond kidnapping. Too often, migrants become victims of extortion, robbery, torture, rape, and even murder, including the horrific mass murder of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas in 2010.
In a letter to Secretary Clinton signed by 33 concerned members of Congress, lawmakers underscored that “the current levels of abuse against migrants in transit in Mexico represent a humanitarian crisis that has been recognized by international human rights organization across the globe.”
The letter recognizes the need to reduce the high levels of impunity for violence against migrants, including disturbing cases in which officials have directly participated in or colluded with organized crime to kidnap or otherwise victimize migrants. Some of these corrupt officials represent agencies that have received assistance through the Merida Initiative, including Mexico’s Federal Police and National Migration Institute. As cited by the letter, “In investigations conducted by the CNDH, they found that nearly nine percent of migrants who were victims signaled the collusion or direct participation of agents from the INM or federal, state or local police.”
As members of Congress said, “Traveling from Mexico or Central America to the United States is one of the most dangerous journeys in the world, and letting the violence and abuse continue isn’t in anyone’s interest.” We join Congress in urging Secretary Clinton to help protect the safety and security of thousands of migrants who are at risk.