Mayor Ramos: migrants a problem. Mayor Ramos: migrants a problem.

‘Oaxaca’s Trump’ says migrants are trouble

Town of Chahuites had been seen as 'sanctuary city' until shelter was closed

Almost 4,500 kilometers southwest of the White House, the mayor of the small town of Chahuites has been dubbed the Donald Trump of Oaxaca for his tough stance on migrants.


Migrant rights activists and local residents began referring to Leobardo Ramos as the “Oaxacan Trump” in May shortly after he announced plans to shut down a migrant shelter in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec town situated on the state’s southern border with Chiapas.

Hundreds of mainly Central American migrants used to travel regularly through the town on top of the train known as La Bestia, or the Beast, although newer and stricter immigration patrols often force migrants to walk along the tracks instead.

The mayor justified the shelter’s closure by saying that the migrants were troublemakers whose bad behavior had gone too far and that neighbors of the lodging had requested that it be shut down.

“We see a lot of migrants without shirts, taking drugs and fighting among themselves. It’s not the same Chahuites as before, children can’t play in the street anymore because there is too much insecurity,” the mayor told the media organization Grupo Fórmula.

At the time, shelter co-founder Alberto Donis Rodríguez conceded that not all migrants are well behaved but said there were strict rules in place at the temporary accommodation to avoid disturbances to neighbors.

Nevertheless, the shelter was permanently shut down in August after Ramos negotiated with staff members to build a new shelter at a location outside the town.


A former volunteer at the shelter said the town used to be a kind of “sanctuary city” for migrants but the decision taken by “Oaxaca’s Trump” had largely put that to an end.

“Unfortunately, Mexico has a big problem with xenophobia and racism against migrants,” Jessica Cárdenas said.

However, Ramos has said in other interviews that he personally has nothing against undocumented migrants and that he is simply doing what the voters asked him to do. Ramos easily won the 2016 election for mayor, representing the Citizens’ Movement Party.

Many of the residents of the town are typical of the constituents Ramos says he represents.

“I was afraid just to go to the bathroom,” one local woman who campaigned to close the shelter told Public Radio International (PRI) as she pointed to her outdoor lavatory.

“What if one of them gets inside our house while I’m in the bathroom, kills my husband and robs us?” María López asked.

Demonstrating a mindset reminiscent of Trump’s rhetoric, López believes that Central America only sends its worst people to Mexico.

However, while migrants may in some cases be committing crimes, evidence shows that they are also increasingly becoming victims of crime.

In 2014, President Enrique Peña Nieto launched an immigration enforcement strategy in the south of the country known as the Frontera Sur, or Southern Border program.

The move came after the United States pressured Mexico to help stop a huge surge of migrants that were arriving on the United States’ southern border.

But since the program was implemented, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has reported, human rights abuses committed by Mexican authorities against migrants increased by 40%.

The number of migrants who reported being victims of crimes such as robbery and assault also went up, doubling according to data from the Washington Office on Latin America.

But neither increased vigilance of the southern border nor the Oaxacan Trump’s crack down on migrants has been completely successful in stopping them from arriving in Chahuites.

A group of six Honduran men spoke to PRI recently as they rested in the shade near an old railway station in the town.

They said that as they attempted to make their way back to the United States after being deported, many Mexicans treated them very well and offered them rides and food along the way.

“People just say, ‘yeah sure,’ whenever I ask them for some beans or a piece of cheese. Mexicans are good people,” Alan Spencer said.

Source: Public Radio International (en), Radio Fórmula (sp), NVI Noticias (sp)

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  • BB

    Aaahhh! Just what we need. Another joker.

    • David Nichols

      Yeah, we wouldn’t want a politician who acts to protect his own citizens from the depredations of illegals…
      Invite them to your house BB, feed and clothe them—then get back to me with your anti DJT regurgitations…!

      • Well said, David.

      • BB

        Obama deported way more immigrants than any other president, and certainly more in his last year than Donald did in his first. What has it proved?

        • Cool Hand Luke

          You’re playing with the numbers, BB..
          It’s easier to deport “more” when you have allowed more in than anyone else.
          Further, it isn’t just about the number coming in but who is in the numbers.

        • David Nichols

          Deportation proves they had no legal right to be in the USA, and we are willing to pay to get them out of OUR country….
          Which also happens to be cheaper than letting them remain here, sucking us dry…

        • Güerito

          In his second term, the Obama administration began counting border apprehensions as deportations to inflate the numbers.

  • cooncats

    Well since the U.S. is largely deporting criminal Central Americans at this point it isn’t too difficult to see that maybe that is what the people of this town have been subjected to and maybe even less difficult to understand they have had enough of it.

    Just like the U.S.

  • alance

    Many people are victims of the war on drugs and poverty.

    • DreadFool

      brilliant observation!

  • As the U.S. clearly needs (more) border fencing, so does southern Mexico. All nations should protect their border and integrity.

    • Mike

      America is rotting from the inside not from exposure to migrants. Shooting yourself in the foot doesn’t make you a faster runner, and if you support tRUMP like his one footed followers do, you are a fool without hope.

      • Mike, we are of one mind! America is rotting from the inside. And much of that is due to allowing illegal aliens to sneak across the border in millions. A nation, any nation, worth its salt must protect its identity and integrity. As for Trump, what a breath of fresh air in the Oval Office!

        • DreadFool

          one world, one mind! Viva Fidel! Better grow your own food to survive your übertopia

        • BB

          Feipe, you have neither facts nor figures to support your argument. Just regurgitated rhetoric.

          • On the contrary, BB. Facts and figures back me up very well. But my radar tells me you’re one of those “diversity and multiculturalism” sorts. Am I mistaken? I think not. Let us take your attitude to its logical conclusion and see how it actually suits you. Say you live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood (and I hope you do), and one day the Squatley family with their nine children appear on your street, having just arrived in their jalopy from some holler in the backwoods of West Virginia.

            You go to bed that night and, of course, you’ve left your downstairs windows open — perhaps the front door too — because you heartily believe in openness. The Squatleys wait till 2 a.m., when you’re dreaming happily, before moving right in and setting up camp in the living room. The next morning, they’re waiting in the kitchen for breakfast! How happy you are! Your home is now more diverse, multicultural too! I think that’s just swell.

        • cooncats

          Felipe you are hardly of one mind with Mike I’ll wager. Mike is a left winger who favors open borders and policies that have very much driven the decline of the U.S. Trump is trying to reverse that crap.

        • Mike

          Illegals are not hurting America and if you had half a brain you would see who is clearly undermining the country. The business community and politicians are responsible for hiring and exploiting cheap labor, while the knuckle draggers scream from the rooftops, “it’s the illegals”. You sir are a moron.

          • Chimmy Changa

            Mike, must you call others derogatory names?

  • DreadFool

    este morenito sure looks like the donald..,,

  • Mike S

    What would Jesus do?

    • DreadFool

      he’d have a discount gender transition in Tijuana.

    • David Nichols

      Jesus would demand the Catholic Church of Mexico start taking care of the poor….!

      • Mike S

        What does the Catholic stained glass church have to do with Jesus? And would the “poor” include desperate immigrants?

        • David Nichols

          Mike S.
          Well, they have a Pope that claims to speak for Jesus, so they should be held responsible to care for the poor, like Jesus said, with their billions of $$ in the Vatican Bank…
          The Catholic Church has a presence throughout Central and South America, and if they cared for the poor in each country, you wouldn’t have “desperate immigrants”…
          Desperation does not confer upon you the right to break the law, if it did there could be no effective law, and no effective protection for the law abiding…

          • Mike S

            If you study the history of the failed societies on Central America, you see lots of US culpability going all the way back to Reagan and his dirty little covert wars and right-wing death squads keeping totally corrupt American puppets in power for US corporate interests and paranoid ideology. Remember the Iran-Contra scandal. After Vietnam, we had plenty of unemployed “special forces” available. That violence caused large immigration to the US where these those immigrants were unable to support themselves and often ended up in US jails where they got an ugly education before being deported back to Central America. The violent criminal gangs there now are a second generation off-shoot from that. The desperate mothers want their children out of there and don’t care about breaking the law. They are handing over children to the border patrol. Instead of shipping $6 billion a year to Israel & Egypt, maybe we should take some responsibility in Central America and work to improve their economies and justice systems. They are in our backyard and affect us more than the trillions we waste in the Middle East.

          • David Nichols

            Oh, my bad…I failed to consider your worldview which places the blame for everything on the USA…
            Perhaps endemic, top to bottom corruption, has something to do with the failings of Central and South American countries…?
            But then, I suppose you would be able to make that the fault of the USA as well…
            Dig a little deeper into your history books–they have based their societies on violence and corruption for many hundreds of years before the USA existed…

          • Mike S

            Starting with the Polish-German war of 1002 until 1945, Europe was at war continually for a almost 1000 years….so what else is new. They got very good at it.The US is my native country and I see the good and bad. Only constructive criticism will make it better. American “exceptionalism” is over blown. The most truthful history of our country was written by Howard Zinn called “The People’s History of the United States”. Get a copy and read it….might open your eyes. It was published in 1980 so it doesn’t cover much of Reagan, Bush Sr., or Kissinger’s Latin American crimes or the recent hard drug addiction problems in the US.

          • David Nichols

            But the article is about a Mexican mayor dealing with the problems caused by troublemakers migrating to, and through his town…and you can only see that the USA is somehow at fault…
            The problem here is troublemakers and criminals, not poverty and immigration…
            You completely ignored my point regarding Mexico’s violent history pre dating the existence of the USA…
            For purposes of discussing the specific problem this mayor is facing, focus your “constructive criticism” on the endemic cultural problems in Mexico–not every problem stems from American foreign policy debacles..

          • Mike S

            The root of the problem is why are people fleeing failed and dangerous societies of Central America. My point is that the US has a lot to do with the those failures if one wants to look deeply and truthfully at our history there. I can understand the mayor reacting as he does. I question how much these poor immigrates are “…trouble makers and criminals”. They are more likely desperate people looking for safety and a better life. The locals are fearful and xenophobic. That’s a natural and human reaction. Trump and his following thinks most Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists and wants a wall. I don’t have the answers for human brutality and refugees around the world. If the US was culpable decades ago creating this problem, maybe we should admit our wrong and launch policies and give aid and expertise inside those countries to make them safer and more democratic. Our new foreign policy seems to be saying our moral world leadership is now over and everything is now all about how much money our corporations can make. That may come back to bite us some day.

  • Garry Montgomery

    The headline should have read; “Migrant center moved to safer location”.

  • alance

    In a way both the US and Mexico are adversaries.

    Mexico dumps their surplus population on the US.

    The US dumps their drug war and toxic food and chemicals on Mexico to reduce their population.