TULTITLAN, Mexico – Considered felons by the government, these migrants fear detention, rape and robbery. Police and soldiers hunt them down at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels. Sometimes they are deported; more often officers simply take their money.
While migrants in the United States have held huge demonstrations in recent weeks, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico suffer mostly in silence.
And though Mexico demands humane treatment for its citizens who migrate to the U.S., regardless of their legal status, Mexico provides few protections for migrants on its own soil. The issue simply isn’t on the country’s political agenda, perhaps because migrants make up only 0.5 percent of the population, or about 500,000 people – compared with 12 percent in the United States.