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Surveillance on migrant shelters are causing fear and confusion among asylum seekers.
Jose Maria Garcia, director of Albergue Juventud 2000, a shelter for asylum seekers in Tijuana, asked authorities not to persecute migrants with the National Guard (GN), the new security force that Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) put in full operation Sunday in order to fight organized crime.
"If we do not raise our voice, it will not stop... soon they will want to enter the shelters, which we will not allow," Garcia said, adding that the National Institute of Migration (INM) should serve to help migrants to regularize their situation and not to harass them.
Paulina Olvera Cáñez, a coordinator of the Espacio Migrante shelter, also denounced "harassment and intimidation" by elements of the INM who arrived without explanation to "observe" her facilities from a van escorted by the Mexican Army and Naval Force.
"Many of those in our shelter are people who are in the migrant protection protocol," she said and added that "with these actions, it seems to me, they are intimidating these people so they do not feel comfortable here and give up."
The GN is made up of some 70,000 former military and former police officers, 12,000 of whom will monitor the Mexican southern border to prevent the advance of Central American migrants to the United States, a surveillance task force the AMLO administration approved on June 7 to avoid President Donald Trump's threat of increasing tariffs on all Mexican export products.
Although Lopez Obrador vowed this new security force's behavior will be different from that of the old Federal Police, the deployment of the GN has generated debate on the growing influence of the military and its possible consequences on human rights.
Justo momentos antes del Informe de #AMLO, Donald Trump declaró que “los aranceles contra ���� ya están fuera de consideración porque según se hace un "gran trabajo" para detener a migrantes de Centroamérica. ¿Casualidad o causalidad? �� pic.twitter.com/5FrZzfHGOe
"Just moments before the AMLO Report, Donald Trump declared that tariffs against Mexico are already out of consideration because there is a 'great job' to stop migrants from Central America. Coincidence or coincidence?"
The Tijuana Archdiocese archbishop Francisco Moreno Barron, asked that the National Guard comply with its work respecting migrants.
"We have to rescue the value and wealth of having these people [National Guard], but make a call so that the treatment of citizens, particularly migrants, is a dignified and respectful treatment," said Moreno Barron during his Sunday Mass.
According to preliminary INM data, a total of 21,912 Central American migrants were deported from Mexico in June, a figure which represents an increase of 33 percent compared to May and is the highest since March 2006.
In addition, the number of foreigners detained exceeded 29,000 in June, an increase of 23 percent from the previous month.
"Police checkpoints have been intensified, with the National Guard support, to intercepting trucks in which migrants travel. The sudden increase in detainees has overwhelmed detention centers," Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Tuesday and added that the Mexican National Human Rights Commission has criticized the conditions in which detained migrants are living.