Mexican Border Agents Quitting Over Increasingly Violent Migrants
Border agents in Mexico are fed up to the point of leaving their jobs — and say that, if the US lifts Title 42, things will only get worse.
“Work has doubled and even tripled for us. Some weeks we have no days off. We pull in double shifts for the same pay and are sent from one end of the country to the other with less money for our expenses that we must pay up front,” said an officer, Jorge, who spoke with The Post on the condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal.
No statistics are available on how many officers have quit Mexican immigration forces. But Jorge said that, on one team alone, at least half of the 30 officers have quit over the last two years.
“It’s a nationwide phenomenon,” he said.
Jorge is an officer with the National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración), Mexico’s version of the US Border Patrol, which has become an ever-increasing first response force against desperate undocumented migrants from all over the world — Central and South America, but also some Caribbean countries and even Africa, Europe and Russia — who dream of reaching American cities.
Sources said that officers, already besieged by a big workload and overtaxed by pulling double shifts, are routinely sent from their posts in northern border towns to the most southern parts of Mexico, to aid understaffed and weary guards there with the influx of immigrants coming in — mostly via Guatemala.
And there’s nothing easy about it. Recently, officers have been attacked and left injured in bloody brawls with angry mobs of migrants.
It’s enough to make them want to give up.
“My family suffers. I barely see my kids,” said Jorge, who is primarily based at the border with California. “It’s a desperate situation and there seems no way out.”
Two other former immigration officers contacted by The Post second Jorge’s
allegations, adding that officers are increasingly put in dangerous situations with violent
Juan, a former officer who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, said the high risk and low pay were just not worth it for him.
“I got a job as a truck driver,” told The Post. “I am away from home in this job. But it is not that dangerous.”
Unlike the US Border Patrol, Mexican immigration officers do not carry firearms. On at least one occasion, Jorge said, he and others were attacked by migrants armed with rocks; in another instance, human traffickers in the southern state of Oaxaca fired upon their patrol car.
“They sprayed the vehicle with bullets, with the officers inside. Some of the local Mexicans, taxi drivers, turn to human smuggling. They are called ‘polleros,’” Jorge said. “This is [also] a war between Immigration [officers] and the local people.”
In addition to dealing with violence, he added, officers are severely underpaid.
Jorge, who has been with the force for over seven years, said he makes 5,800 pesos every two weeks (roughly $288), and about 150,800 pesos per year ($7,509). By contrast, US Border Patrol agents start off with a yearly salary of about $70,234, according to Customs and Border Patrol’s official website.
Jorge and the other officers complained that there is little room for career advancement and work stipends for meals and housing were reduced seven years ago — from 4,200 pesos ($209) for four and half days of deployment work to 3,045 pesos ($152). Jorge added that officers must pay for their expenses up front and wait weeks to get reimbursed.
Already, hundreds of immigrants have joined marches and caravans that are headed north via Mexico, while others are camped at many ports of entry along the border.
Two weeks ago, immigration agents and armed soldiers from Mexico’s National Guard clashed violently with about 500 undocumented migrants — from Venezuela, Central America, Cuba and other countries — just outside Tapachula, a Mexican city close to the Guatemalan border.
The migrants used a white wooden cross as a battering ram to crash through riot-geared
The migrants, who were living in Tapachula awaiting their asylum cases, joined a caravan that was destined to march to Mexico City and later to US border cities to ask for asylum.
In the Mexican state of Puebla, immigration officers allegedly ran over two migrants who were in a caravan on their way to Mexico City, according to local newspaper reports. The migrants responded by beating up several cops and immigration officers, bashing one on the head and leaving him on the side of the road bleeding.
Migrants and Mexican immigration officers have repeatedly collided in bloody brawls. In one 2019 incident in Tapachula, a group of migrants surrounded and attacked officers, including at least one female agent, who desperately tried to take cover inside a government vehicle amid a hailstorm of rocks.
And in March, a group of Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Cuban migrants who were waiting for visas in Tapachula busted down a metal door and attacked officers inside an Immigration station, allegedly because a migrant had been beaten inside the offices.
According to the US Justice Department, the Transnational Anti-Gang Units (TAG) — an
international group created by the FBI to work with law enforcement from El Salvador,
Guatemala and Honduras — detected that MS-13 gang members had been infiltrating migrant caravans.
“The TAG officers assisted CBP in identifying possible gang members using the caravan to gain entrance into the U.S. under asylum requests. TAG officers supported US law enforcement by: assisting in 136 interviews; identifying 30 individuals affiliated with gangs, identifying 47 individuals with criminal histories; and identifying three individuals with arrest warrants in Honduras and El Salvador for attempted homicide, aggravated robbery, and terrorist activity,” according to the report “Full-Scale Response: A Report on the Department of Justice’s Efforts to Combat MS-13 from 2016-2020.”
Jorge said his two children are always asking him when he will come home. His family is his priority, and he is already looking for another job.
“As soon as I find something else, I am gone,” he said.
Original Article: https://nypost.com/2022/04/19/mexican-border-agents-quitting-over-influx-of-more-violent-migrants/