Migrants Crossing Mexico to US Border Face Extortion and Kidnapping by Cartels

Migrants face perilous journey through Mexico, targeted by criminal groups for extortion and kidnapping, highlighting the urgent need to protect vulnerable asylum seekers and address the threat of transnational organized crime along the US-Mexico border.

Geeta Pillai
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Migrants Crossing Mexico to US Border Face Extortion and Kidnapping by Cartels

Migrants Crossing Mexico to US Border Face Extortion and Kidnapping by Cartels

Migrants attempting to cross Mexico to reach the US border are facing a perilous journey fraught with danger, as drug cartels and organized crime groups increasingly target them for extortion and kidnapping. The story of Eduardo, an Ecuadorian migrant who fled his home country due to threats and extortion by criminal gangs, highlights the risks faced by those seeking asylum in the United States.

During his journey through Mexico, Eduardo and other migrants were repeatedly stopped at checkpoints manned by armed men demanding money. In one incident, over 100 migrants were held captive for weeks in the border town of San Luis Rio Colorado, where they were subjected to physical and psychological abuse. The kidnappers demanded ransom payments from the migrants or their relatives, with some corrupt law enforcement officials also involved in the extortion scheme.

A local Mexican journalist witnessed a bus being stopped by masked men who questioned and extorted the migrants on board. The author of the article also experienced being forced off a bus with two Colombian families, including children, due to their inability to pay the extortionists.

The presence of transnational criminal organizations from Mexico and Central/South America along the US-Mexico border has grown, as these groups take advantage of the increased migration to the region. In addition to human smuggling and extortion, the criminal groups are involved in drug trafficking and prostitution. The arrival of the Venezuelan criminal group 'Tren de Aragua' to the border area is expected to further exacerbate crime and security issues.

Why this matters: The extortion and kidnapping of migrants by criminal organizations in Mexico underscores the urgent need for action to protect vulnerable individuals seeking asylum. The involvement of transnational criminal groups in human smuggling and other illicit activities along the US-Mexico border poses a significant threat to the safety and security of both migrants and local communities.

The US Border Patrol has acknowledged the threat posed by these transnational criminal organizations and their attempts to smuggle dangerous criminals into the country. As the number of migrants arriving at the US border reaches record levels, the situation has sparked a political debate around immigration measures. While the Biden administration and Republican opponents propose stricter policies, experts warn that restricting the flow of migrants could push them to take even more dangerous paths and increase the power of organized crime groups in the region.

Key Takeaways

  • Migrants face extortion, kidnapping by criminal groups on journey to US border
  • Over 100 Ecuadorian migrants held captive for weeks, subjected to abuse in Mexico
  • Transnational criminal groups exploit migration to engage in human smuggling, drug trafficking
  • Arrival of Venezuelan group 'Tren de Aragua' expected to worsen border security issues
  • Restricting migration could push migrants to take more dangerous paths, empower organized crime