September 9, 2019
A drug lord appreciating his drug empire
Brown asylum-seeking refugee migrants are in even more danger now.
The kidnappers came to the shelter near the U.S.-Mexico border looking for Cuban migrants, favored targets because relatives in the United States are known to pay exorbitant ransoms to free abducted loved ones.
In cartel-dominated Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a gateway to the United States, it’s a lucrative racket: Snatch a migrant from Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela or elsewhere; commandeer their cellphones; then call U.S. relatives demanding thousands of dollars.
Cuban migrants have relatives in the United States that are able to pay “exorbitant” ransoms? It seems they’re doing pretty good for themselves.
No need to spell out the consequences of nonpayment in the lawless Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, known for mass graves and massacres of migrants — including hundreds slain by gunmen of the Zetas cartel outside the town of San Fernando in 2010-11.
On Aug. 3, when the Rev. Aaron Mendez, an evangelical pastor and head of the Amar shelter, refused the kidnappers’ demands, the thugs took him away.
The case has dramatized the systematic fashion of abductions and shakedowns faced by migrants and others at an especially sensitive time — when U.S. authorities have been expelling tens of thousands of Central Americans, Cubans and others back to Mexico’s crime-ridden border cities under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, known informally as “Remain in Mexico.”
It’s Americans’ fault that these valiant persons of color are getting kidnapped by gangs and cartels formed by other valiant persons of color.
You yourself may not be kidnapping browns or chopping them up with machetes, but by not giving them your money and your house, you are complicit in their suffering. That makes you at least as guilty as the kidnappers — perhaps even more so, because you have the economic resources to prevent these kidnapping schemes but you’re just not giving them away!
Under the program, rolled out in January in the border cities of Tijuana and San Diego — and later expanded to other U.S.-Mexico crossings — more than 37,500 U.S.-bound migrants have been returned to Mexico to wait for U.S. court hearings. Many intend to seek political asylum in the U.S.
More than 3,000 have been dispatched across the Rio Grande to Tamaulipas since the program was extended in July. Mexican authorities provide little housing or other aid to the returnees, who are often left to fend for themselves.
If someone enters your home against your will, you have an undocumented guest — not an invader — and we have to treat guests with the utmost respect no matter their guest-documentation status. Guests are just guests. There are no illegal guests.
That’s why Mexicans are also in the wrong here. Giving lots of free stuff to their guests should be their values and who they are.
Extortion-minded mobs view vulnerable migrants as walking ATMs. They are easy prey, lacking family ties in Mexico and known to have U.S. relatives with access to dollars. Mob halcones — hawks, or lookouts — watch bus stations and other strategic spots, eyeing potential quarry.
Though drug trafficking provides the bulk of cartel income, Mexico’s organized crime groups are multibillion-dollar conglomerates that also control migrant smuggling, kidnapping and other illicit ventures, working in cahoots with corrupt police and politicians.
Corporations are running most countries nowadays, and cartels are Mexico’s most successful corporations.
Three Honduran migrant families who returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols recently recounted in interviews with the Los Angeles Times how gangsters kidnapped them, obliging relatives in the United States to pay ransoms. All three said they had alerted U.S. immigration officials that they had been abducted in Mexico — but were nonetheless sent back to Mexico.
U.S. authorities say multiple factors are considered when determining whether apprehended migrants should be sent back to Mexico, including whether they face persecution or torture. Claims by migrants are documented, authorities said, but fear of being kidnapped does not necessarily disqualify detainees from being sent back to Mexico.
Fear of being a brown surrounded by other browns should be enough reason to give these browns asylum, or at least a place to wait for the asylum hearing where they’re not surrounded by other browns.
Letting browns be around other browns is pure evil because browns do evil things to other browns.
Beti Suyapa Ortega, 36, said she was unaware of the extent of the danger when she boarded a Mexican public bus last month headed for the U.S. border with her son, Robinson Javier Melara, 17. The single mother of five from the northern Honduran state of Yoro said she was fleeing maras, or gangs, that demanded weekly extortion payments at her family’s grocery store.
“The maras in Honduras are bad, but here I think they are even worse,” Ortega said.
On Aug. 4, Ortega said, she and her son were on a bus when a group of about 10 men flagged the vehicle down on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo. The gangsters demanded that passengers produce identification and forced all foreigners off the vehicle, she said.
Ortega and her son were taken to a house where about a dozen other migrants were being held, she said, and the kidnappers grabbed her phone. They found the number of her younger brother, who had arrived in Atlanta a few months earlier. The captors snapped photos of Ortega and her son and dispatched the images to her brother, demanding $8,000 for their release, she said.
On Aug. 18, when the money had been paid, Ortega said, she and her son were driven to a spot along the Rio Grande, where the cartel strictly controls illicit crossings, and taken across in an inflated tire tube.
Ortega and her son were detained in U.S. custody in Texas for two nights, she said, before being released with a court date of Dec. 10 in San Antonio.
“We told them (U.S. immigration authorities) we had been kidnapped, but they didn’t believe us,” Ortega said.
On Aug. 20, U.S. Border Patrol officers returned Ortega, her son and 18 other distraught migrants on foot to Nuevo Laredo across the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, in a sullen procession repeated here daily beneath the blazing sun. Many clutched transparent plastic bags emblazoned with the seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and containing notices to appear in immigration court.
But Ortega said she had no intention of sticking around Nuevo Laredo. She and fellow migrants were waiting for bus transport to Tapachula, a Mexican city near the Guatemalan border. The one-way rides are a Mexican government initiative that serves a double purpose — removing discouraged migrants from the perilous border zone, while also diminishing the chances that they will make the long and hazardous trip back for U.S. court dates.
“We’ve had enough,” Ortega said.
Also waiting for the bus was Maria Suyapa Rodriguez, 35, and her 12-year-old son. She and her son, she said, had also been kidnapped — on Aug. 15 at the Nuevo Laredo bus terminal. The two were released two days later when her sister in New York agreed to pay a ransom, said Rodriguez, who did not know the amount. The pair subsequently crossed the Rio Grande, she said, and surrendered to the Border Patrol, which returned them to Mexico.
Like Ortega, Rodriguez said she had given up and would forgo her Jan. 10 U.S. court date and return home to Honduras.
The kidnapping gangs are discouraging many like Ortega and Rodriguez from sticking around for their asylum hearings, but the numbers are likely not enough to make any difference.
This situation shows the paradoxical nature of these migrants. They have no money and no plan. They just show up and expect America or Mexico to provide food and shelter — yet they’re somehow good for the economy.
How do Americans benefit from granting asylum to these people?
Are we already past the point where people ask “what’s in it for me?” and just do things because “it’s the right thing to do”?