Mexico-US relations

Mexico launches campaign to help immigrants in the United States

Information includes advice on what people should do if they are arrested by immigration officers

The Mexican government has responded to concerns from its citizens in the United States about a possible spike in deportations following the arrival of new US President Donald Trump. And it has done so by launching an information campaign informing Mexicans of their rights in the event of arrest by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

Mexicans at the United States border.
Mexicans at the United States border.SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP

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The #PasaLaVoz (PassItOn) campaign – launched in the wake of a large number of calls to Mexico’s consular web in the United States following Trump’s election – includes recommendations that people do not open their door to immigration officers without first having seen a search or arrest warrant signed by a judge. It also advises people to keep silent and not sign anything if they are detained.

The Mexican government campaign on Twitter and Facebook also advises people to have an emergency plan, and recommends getting a good immigration lawyer.

Talking about the campaign, which includes a dedicated phone number to call for advice (1-855-463-6395), Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray admitted there had been no increase in the number of deportations since Trump’s arrival in the White House.

“The trends are the same as last year, even a little lower,” said the official.

There has been a spike in calls from concerned immigrants to Mexican consulates in the US

But Videgaray also noted Mexican consulates in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina are aware of “dramatic operations” against immigrants.

Meanwhile, of the 350 undocumented immigrants arrested last week, 90 were Mexicans, according to ICE. The Mexican foreign affairs secretary has called on them to report cases of “apparent abuse of authority or ill treatment.”

During an interview with Mexico’s Televisa on Monday, Videgaray highlighted the case of Guadalupe García de Rayos, a 36-year-old woman who was deported on February 9 after living in Arizona for 22 years, saying it illustrates Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration.

Rayos was caught using a fake social security number in 2009, but was only arrested during a recent yearly ICE meeting to discuss her case. Her subsequent deportation was carried out so quickly that Mexican consular staff did not have time to help the woman, who is married with two children who are US citizens.

The campaign warns Mexicans in the US not to open their doors to ICE officials without first seeing a warrant

The #PasaLaVoz campaign is the most recent example of the Mexican government’s attempts to combat Washington’s hardline immigration policies. Days earlier, President Enrique Peña Nieto struck a deal with Mexican Congress to boost the budget of Mexico’s consulates in the United States to the tune of one billion pesos ($49 million).

On Sunday, tens of thousands of Mexicans took to the streets of around 20 cities throughout the country – including the capital – to express their anger at US President Donald Trump and to call on their own president to show dignity and firmness in confronting what many in the country see as their greatest threat.

English version by George Mills.

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