Mexican immigration officials have said 50000 Mexicans have been deported so far this year by the U.S. While that number is below tallies in recent years – a trend has emerged of more long-established immigrants being forcibly returned.
CGTN’s Denny Alfonso reports on the challenges many face coming back home.
Trump immigration policies lead to deportation of long-term US residentsWhile deportees attempt to re-start their lives in Mexico, U.S. officials report illegal border crossings heading North are on the decline.
Apolinar Lara was deported to Mexico back in January, after almost a decade living in the United States.
He described the moment of his arrest for driving without a valid license.
“They treated me like a criminal, they dressed me in orange, they handcuffed me and put me in foot shackles. ICE comes after you like you committed the worst crime,” he said.
From San Antonio, Texas, Apolinar now lives in a humble neighborhood north of Mexico City. His wife, also Mexican, and their 8-year-old-daughter followed to be with him.
His old friends are glad to have him back but upset to see his American dream broken
Apolinar is one of the thousands of Mexican deportees returned since Donald Trump took office this year, according to Mexico’s National Immigration Institute.
That number is actually lower than in recent years, but officials said they’re seeing a change in the type of immigrant targeted for deportation. People, like Apolinar, who are not dangerous criminals and have lived productive lives for many years in the U.S.
Back home they receive a Mexican ID card and help to start a new life.
“Initially we connect them with the institutions that provide health care and education, not only for the returnee but also for their families,” Dalia Garcia of the Mexican National Immigration Institute said.
According to government officials, an average of 134 people return weekly to the Benito Juarez airport in Mexico City.
Regardless if they are from the capital or not, they are offered a welfare payment of around $110 a month for half a year.
The returnees are also offered job training and access to potential employers.
Apolinar started his new job as a security officer at the Mexico City International Airport just three weeks after his return.
He said he will not try to cross the border again, as long as Trump remains in office, but he has a message for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto:
“Give more support to the people, better salaries to have less corruption, so we don’t have to migrate!”
While deportees attempt to re-start their lives in Mexico, U.S. officials report illegal border crossings heading North are on the decline.
“March apprehensions were 30 percent lower than February apprehensions-this is an overall reduction of 64 percent over the last year,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said.
Mexican officials said they are bracing for a greater surge in deportations ahead, of not just Mexicans, but possibly any Latin American who crossed into the U.S. illegally through Mexico, which the Trump administration has proposed.
Fears of sprawling refugee camps with substandard conditions along the northern border have the Mexican government pushing back.