Obama also encouraged Mexico to strengthen its southern border security, and sent WOLA to the Guatemala–Mexico border to check on the border security and this is part of what they put in their report back to the Whitehouse.
Mexican Agencies with Border Security Responsibilities
National Migration Institute ( Instituto Nacional de Migración , INM): A unit within the Interior Secretariat, the INM is charged with enforcing Mexican immigration law and protecting migrants. Violations of this law, such as being present in Mexico without proper documentation, are considered administrative, not criminal, offenses.
As of 2013, according to a study by the Mexican think-tank Democracy and Security Institute ( Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia , INSYDE), the INM “had a total of 5,875 authorized positions, 346 Delegations and Sub-Delegations (both Federal and Local) throughout the country, and it is responsible for migration control in 191 international transit areas, including 65 international airports, 67 deep-water ports, and 59 land-border crossings. This last figure excludes countless checkpoints that the INM maintains in the interior of Mexico.”
- Navy/Marines ( Secretaría de Marina-Armada , SEMAR): Mexico’s Navy and Marines have about 54,000 members nationwide (2012). In the southern border zone, it carries out duties similar to those of the Army, along with coastal and riverine patrols. Since 2010 SEMAR has been constructing a network of 12 new “Advanced Naval Stations” ( Estaciones Navales Avanzadas , ENA) in Chiapas and Quintana Roo, with detachments of 54 or 108 Marines in each. In June 2013 Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior stated that SEMAR is in charge of southern border security. The Marines tend to work more closely with U.S. counterparts than does the Army. U.S. officials mentioned to us that assistance is helping to construct at least two Navy facilities in the southern border zone, but as of mid-2014 we have no further information.
- Federal Police ( Policía Federal ): The approximately 37,000-member national police force, part of the Secretariat of the Interior, is the only unit legally able to help the INM enforce Mexican immigration law. Mexico’s 2011 Migration Law directs the Federal Police to assist and coordinate with the INM in revising the documentation and vehicles of people who seek to enter or leave the country.
- Army ( Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional , SEDENA): Mexico’s Army, which together with its Air Force has about 208,000 members nationwide (2012), maintains checkpoints and carries out counter-trafficking and other security operations in the border zone. Troops are not charged with enforcing immigration law, although by numerous accounts they do inquire about individuals’ migration status. Mexico’s air force usesBrazilian radars and planes that the United States donated in the 1990s to operate SIVA, a system to monitor suspicious air traffic in the southern border zone.
- Customs ( Servicio de Administración Tributaria , SAT): Part of the Treasury Secretariat, this agency monitors cross-border flows of goods.
- Federal Attorney-General’s Office ( Procuraduría General de la República , PGR): The PGR is charged with investigating and prosecuting federal crimes, which include activities related to organized crime, drug trafficking, and the possession of weapons of exclusive military use.
- Federal Ministerial Police ( Policía Federal Ministerial ): An investigative unit of the PGR, it emerged from the now-disbanded Federal Investigative Agency ( Agencia Federal de Investigaciones , AFI, similar to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation). In the border zone, this force is present at airports and highway checkpoints.
Chiapas State Police ( Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección Ciudadana ): Under a framework that the Chiapas state government calls “Citizen Power” ( Fuerza Ciudadana ), the state police have three divisions with border security responsibilities:
- Preventive Police , whose duties, according to the force’s website, include “placing apprehended undocumented persons at the disposition of the National Migration Institute.”
- Border Police , the only border-security unit in Mexico. The purpose of the 135-person force is to “safeguard the physical and patrimonial integrity of Chiapanecos (inhabitants of Chiapas) who reside near the borderline.”
- Road Police , which operates along the main highways and other roads of state jurisdiction. It carries out periodic operations against human trafficking. When it captures undocumented migrants, this force turns them over to the INM.
- Chiapas Attorney-General ( Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado , PGJ): The PGJ is charged with investigating and prosecuting crimes at the state level, which includes homicides as well as human trafficking. Chiapas is the only state with a Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Migrants (Fiscalía Especializada en Delitos Cometidos Contra Migrantes).