Who's Responsible for the Massacre of Migrants?
Migrant workers continue paying a heavy price as a result of the volatile mixture of the
On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, devastating news reports began trickling out about a horrific massacre of some 72 international migrants that took place in
The drug traffickers had tied the migrants’ hands behind their backs and then executed them by shooting them in the back. One migrant who survived the execution, although gravely wounded, dragged himself miles when he stumbled upon a military checkpoint on a highway and alerted them. Some 200 soldiers were mobilized and went to the farmhouse where a heavy gun battle ensued, leaving one soldier and three drug cartel gunmen dead. Then the soldiers made the grisly discovery of the migrants’ bodies, 58 men and 14 women—migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Brazil—who been slaughtered inside a farmhouse close to San Fernando, a small farming community in the Gulf coast state of Tamaulipas and about a 100 miles south of Brownsville, Texas.
Epidemic of Abuse and Exploitation of Migrants
The Mexican government’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reports that more than 10,000 migrant kidnappings have been reported in the first six months of 2010 in
Drug traffickers and smugglers, as well as police and military, often hold migrants hostage and force them to pay high ransoms before they are allowed to continue usually on the last leg of their journey to the
When migrants make it to the U.S.-Mexico border, they fare no better. The
What rights and protections for migrant workers?
As a result of criminalization and few if any options to regularize their status or migrate with rights, U.S. and international migration control policies make migrant workers easy targets for exploitation and criminal attacks and extortion, where they live and work or whether in they are in transit or in the U.S.
Migrants who survive the journey only slightly fare better. Once out of the clutches of traffickers and smugglers they face a gauntlet of unscrupulous police, elected officials and employers who prey upon them. Or they are further criminalized and are hunted down, filling the dungeons of prisons, euphemistically called “detention centers.”
What is to be done?
What is to be done? Certainly, we should call for the investigation and prosecution all the abusers and those in government who collaborated in this heinous crime. But even this will not be enough. To prevent further abuses will take historic efforts on our and the immigrant rights and justice movements’ part. It will mean organizing to make the
For now we ask everyone to take a minute to reflect on this horrendous massacre of innocents and to respect those migrants among us who have survived this odyssey – just to be with their families, to work and support their families and communities back home.