Mexico threatens lawsuits over National Guard

Mexico said Tuesday that it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops on the border become directly involved in detaining migrants.

Mexican border officials also said they worried that sending troops to heavily trafficked regions would push illegal migrants into more perilous areas of the U.S.-Mexican border to avoid detection.

President Bush announced Monday that he would send 6,000 National Guard troops to the 2,000-mile border, but they would provide intelligence and surveillance support to Border Patrol agents, not catch and detain illegal immigrants.

"If there is a real wave of rights abuses, if we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates," Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez told a Mexico City radio station. He did not offer further details.


Mexican officials worry the crackdown will lead to more deaths. Since Washington toughened security in Texas and California in 1994, migrants have flooded Arizona's hard-to-patrol desert and deaths have spiked. Migrant groups estimate 500 people died trying to cross the border in 2005. The Border Patrol reported 473 deaths in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

In Ciudad Juarez, Julieta Nunez Gonzalez, local representative of the Mexican government's National Immigration Institute, said Tuesday she will ask the government to send its migrant protection force, known as Grupo Beta, to more remote sections of the border.

Sending the National Guard "will not stop the flow of migrants, to the contrary, it will probably go up," as people try to get into the U.S. in the hope that they could benefit from a possible amnesty program, Nunez said.


Juan Canche, 36, traveled more than 1,200 miles to the border from the southern town of Izamal and said nothing would stop him from trying to cross.

"Even with a lot of guards and soldiers in place, we have to jump that puddle," said Canche, referring to the drought-stricken Rio Grande dividing Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas. "My family is hungry and there is no work in my land. I have to risk it."


For more listen to: Talk Show America 5/18/2006

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