A Foreign Affairs Undersecretary warned Sunday that while the number of illegal immigrants being deported by the United States remains low, that could change.
Undersecretary for North America Carlos Manuel Sada Solana also noted a change in the kind of people who are being sent back to Mexico.
“[Deportee] estimates are somewhat lower than during the previous administration but that is far from being a trend, and we’re assuming the worst is yet to come,” he told the newspaper Reforma during an interview at the fourth Agenda Migrante forum, a conference whose focus is supporting Mexican immigrants in the U.S.
Sada, who was briefly Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. until last January, remarked that rather than mass deportations there has been a shift in the deportees’ profiles.
“It is no longer those [caught] on the border; they’ve been repatriating people that are not dangerous criminals, whose only crime was to cross the border; people that work in the United States, that have family and have contributed to society,” he said.
“People with these characteristics were not considered deportable by the administration of President Obama, that’s the great difference.”
Immigration specialist Eunice Rendón Cárdenas concurred: “Today we are seeing people who have lived in the United States for 40 years being deported, and that means much greater challenges in terms of reintegration.”
“We’ve also seen the cases of DREAMers [undocumented immigrants aged under 31] being deported, which had never happened before, showing us the fragility of their migratory status.”
According to Mexico’s National Immigration Institute (INM), 50,000 Mexicans have been repatriated from the United States so far this year. The highest number ever recorded was 600,000 in 2010.
Also during the forum, non-governmental organizations advocating for migrants and migrants themselves accused the Mexican government of inefficiency in guaranteeing labor and social reintegration for returning Mexicans.
Journalist Carlos Puig pointed out the lack of concrete support given to migrants upon returning to Mexico: they are given only a repatriation document that is not recognized as valid identification.