The migrant mess continues almost unabated in Europe, as people south of the Mediterranean stream north. In the meantime, violence and economic uncertainty south of Mexico is fueling a continued stream of people heading north. A key change in that dynamic, however, is that Mexico has been stepping up its program of apprehension and deportation of Central American migrants as they come north across Mexico's southern border. This is detailed in a new report by the Migration Policy Institute titled "Migrants Deported from the United States and Mexico to the Northern Triangle: A Statistical and Socioeconomic Profile."
Amid increasingly muscular enforcement by Mexico, U.S. apprehensions of Central Americans for fiscal 2015 to date have fallen by more than half compared to the prior year. Many of those who previously would have made it to the U.S. border and been apprehended by the Border Patrol now are being intercepted by Mexican authorities.The report also discusses the myriad policy issues embedded in these statistics. People in Central America have a strong local incentive to get out of there. Gang violence in El Salvador means that it is about to pass Honduras as the country with the highest murder rate in the world, and Guatemala's president was just forced to resign (although at least he did do that).
The report also offers a profile of deportees to the Northern Triangle, finding that the majority are young males with low educational attainment levels, most having experience in low-skilled jobs but with nearly 40 percent reporting they were unemployed in the 30 days before setting off on their journey.
And contrary to the stereotype that many young Central American migrants are gang members, the MPI researchers report that the majority of deportees do not have a criminal background. Ninety-five percent of child deportees and 61 percent of adult deportees had never been convicted of a crime. For those with a criminal record, 63 percent had been convicted of immigration or traffic offenses or other non-violent crimes. Twenty-nine percent of those with criminal convictions had committed violent offenses and 9 percent drug offenses.