Federal Police officers who do not fulfill the physical requirements to join the National Guard are being transferred to the National Immigration Institute (INM) where they will help control illegal immigration.
At least 625 officers who were too heavy to join the new security force are manning INM checkpoints on Mexico’s northern and southern borders and along migrant routes.
After working with the INM for six months or however long the immigration emergency lasts, the officers will be able to decide whether to stay with the INM or try to join the National Guard again. However, if they decide not to work with the INM, the officers will be out of a job when the Federal Police is absorbed into the National Guard at the end of the month.
In an audio recording that was leaked to the newspaper El Universal, Federal Police commander Raúl Ávila Ibarra tries to convince a group of officers to join the INM, which he assures them pays better than the Federal Police.
“Those of us who are too heavy, we’ll have at least six months to make a plan that isn’t too hard, so we can fulfill the parameters they’ve given us,” he said. “Like a lot of you, I don’t fulfill the weight requirements, and it requires a commitment . . . it will be my personal decision if I want to continue or look for another option.”
One officer who was sent to work with the INM complained on social media about working conditions, saying that they were “tricked” into being sent to military bases along migrant routes where they are forced to sleep outside without adequate protection from the elements and possible aggression.
“After June 15, we were commissioned by the INM, but we were sent to military bases, and from there we are transported in open vehicles,” he wrote. “And we are vulnerable to everything, because we don’t carry guns or any weapons to defend ourselves from aggression.”
The anonymous officer said he would blame Federal Police Commander Benjamín Grajeda and secretary general Abraham Rodríguez Solís for anything that happened to the officers as a result of the conditions.
A study by the national statistics agency found that 79% of Mexico’s police suffered overweight or obesity to some degree in 2017.