According to Mexican media sources, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and the government have detected a change in the priorities on the part of the Trump administration regarding illegal immigrants in the US. Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray said, however, that the rate of deportations of Mexican nationals currently is less than it was under the Obama administration. Videgaray also noted that Mexico’s 50 consulates in the US have received a considerable uptick in concerns voiced by Mexicans living in the US concerning how to deal with raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service. He said, however, that the there has been no uptick in the number of deportations of late when compared to last year at this time under the Obama administration. “It is showing the same trends,” Videgaray said, “as last year, even a little bit under.”
Nevertheless, Mexican authorities are concerned that deportations will indeed become massive. To address the deportations, Videgaray said in a televised interview that Mexico is putting into place an information campaign to update its citizens on their rights in the US. Regarding the deportation of Guadalupe García de Rayos on February 9, a young woman who had lived in the US for 22 years, he said that this represents a strict policy imposed by the Trump administration. Videgaray said that the deportation of Garcia de Rayos was so swift that no Mexican consul could offer counsel to her personally. Garcia de Rayos is 36 years old and has American citizen children. Her deportation was accompanied by huge protests and crowds in Phoenix.
Garcia de Rayos, who came with her parents as a young girl, was charged in 2009 for using a fraudulent Social Security number so that she could work. On February 9, when she went to a regular consultation with ICE, she was arrested and deported.
Over the February 11-12 weekend, the Mexican government developed the Twitter hashtag #PasaLaVoz “get the word out,” Peña Nieto and various high-level officials have transmitted on social media. The Mexican foreign ministry has told Mexican citizens that they can call 1-855-463-6395 for assistance or use tablets to download the MiConsulmex app without charge, which provides information on Mexico’s fifty consulates.
Mexico is advising the five million Mexicans living illegally in the US to take recourse to reliable legal counsel. The foreign ministry has told Mexicans not to allow ICE officers to enter their homes unless they have an arrest warrant bearing the name, address, and signature of a judge.
Mexicans are also being told by the foreign ministry, as well as immigrant advocacy groups in the US, to remain silent if taken into custody. They are also being told to demand to speak to a Mexican consul and ask for an interpreter. Also, Mexicans are being told by the government to refrain from signing anything or to offer any kind of false documentation.
Videgaray said that Mexican diplomats have noticed concerted operations by ICE on illegal immigrants, especially in North Carolina and South Carolina. Last week, ICE reported that of 350 foreigners arrested, 90 were Mexican nationals. Most of the arrests occurred in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Los Angeles. The foreign minister called on his compatriots to report any mistreatment or abuse meted out by US authorities. Mexican authorities are also calling on Mexicans to write down the name and badge number of all ICE officers making arrests.
To address the expected mass deportations promised by the Trump administration, Peña Nieto has agreed with the Congress of Mexico to increase funding for Mexican consulates by $49 million. The Mexican government is also seeking to simplify the recognition in Mexican of diplomas earned abroad.