Monday, September 13, 2010

Mexican Senate approves reform allowing more protection for migrants

While the legislation clearly got a push by external events such as the recent gruesome massacre of 72 Latin American immigrants in Tamaulipas, the Mexican Senate to its credit voted unamimously to approve a change to the Ley General de Población regarding the rights of immigrants and the duties of the Mexican state toward them. It improves on crucial areas such as:

- Guaranteeing medical attention to migrants by local, state, and federal authorites.
- Functionaries of the Interior ministry who abuses immigrants will be fined or fired
- Migrants, whether passing through Mexico or seeking to stay permanently, can legally denounce authorities for human rights abuses without fear of being turned in for deportation.

All these aspects were treated in an excellent report by Amnesty International earlier this year. While much remains - indeed, much of Mexico's thunder against the treatment of Mexicans in the United States is undermined by its own inadequate protection of migrants in Mexico - this is a huge step forward.
As PRD Senator Rubén Fernando Velázquez declared, cThe time has come for us not to criminalize migrants who pass by our country."

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, voted on the legislation in March, and it will become law as soon as it is published officially in the Diario Oficial de la Federación.

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