The Mexican government is keeping immigrants safer than it used to on its side of the border, a top official says. Cecilia Romero Castillo, commissioner of Mexico's National Institute of Migration, told the Los Angeles Times recently that "new controls" begun by the government have reduced the number of extortion attempts and abuses of immigrants:
According to statistics, authorities received approximately 370 complaints between 2008 and 2009. The issue receiving the greatest number of complaints, more one-third, is extortion.
"Additionally," added Romero Castillo, "the majority of complaints, 28%, have been against state and local police departments, with the state of Tamaulipas [which borders Texas] receiving the greatest number."
In other words, getting pulled over and deported by Sheriff Joe Arpaio is nothing compared to the terrible treatment immigrants receive by their own police. No wonder Arpaio's rhetoric and racially charged crime sweeps don't scare off illegal immigrants.
The overall number of complaints seems ridiculously low, too. No doubt, the number of immigrants being abused or extorted each year is in the thousands. But it's understandable why many Mexicans might think it's not worth complaining to their government.
The L.A. Times article also states that fewer Mexicans are expected to return home from the United States for Christmas this year.
Usually, Romero Castillo estimated, about 1 million people go home for the holidays. This year, only 850,000 are expected to make the trip because of economic pressures and the requirement of a passport for re-entry back into the United States, she stated.
Like many other Americans, immigrants must feel that if you have a job, the best thing to do right now is keep it.
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