The State Department is now advising Americans not to travel to some crime-ridden Mexican states. Yet the safety of non-U.S. citizens seems to be less of a concern, since the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown could be sending some people straight back to these areas.
A revised State Department travel warning, released Wednesday, upgrades the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan and Sinaloa to “do not travel” Level 4 ― the highest-risk category, which also includes war-torn Syria, Somalia and Yemen. Mexico as a whole is at the State Department’s Level 2, which recommends that American travelers “exercise increased caution.”
“Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread,” the updated advisory says.
More than 20,000 people were killed in Mexico in 2016, a 22 percent rise from the previous year. Tecomán, a town in the state of Colima, was the country’s deadliest municipality in 2016, according to government data.
Yet a more aggressive approach to immigration has been a cornerstone of President Donald Trump’s time in office. The U.S. has been sending people back to Mexico and other countries engulfed by violence, and threatens to deport hundreds of thousands more.
From the time Trump took office until the end of September, Immigration and Customs Enforcement removals that resulted from an arrest increased by 37 percent over the previous year, the Department of Homeland Security said. Meanwhile, the number of people apprehended attempting to cross the U.S. southern border dropped to a historical low in fiscal 2017.
ICE agents raided almost 100 7-Eleven stores across the U.S. early Wednesday, arresting 21 people and interviewing many more about whether the chain hires people without authorization to work in the U.S.
The fate of hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” ― the beneficiares of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ― also hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the administration to halt the termination of the program, which protects and provides work authorization for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. The majority of DACA recipients are Mexican.
Trump said later he doesn’t mind preserving the program, but only if Congress can agree on a bill that also provides funding for a border wall and introduces other immigration-control measures. So far, negotiations for a bill don’t appear to be making much progress, given Democrats’ opposition to most of Trump’s demands.