October 18 2019: Mexico has deported a group of 311 illegal migrants from India, the first such action taken by the country since it enhanced efforts to crack down on people using its territory to sneak into the US.
The Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) or National Institute of Migration of Mexico said in a statement the Indians – 310 men and one woman of different ages – left for New Delhi on a chartered flight from Toluca international airport on Wednesday night.
The flight is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Friday morning, Indian and Mexican officials said. “We are aware that a chartered flight with 311 Indian deportees has taken off from Mexico. The external affairs ministry is coordinating closely with other agencies and the Mexican embassy in New Delhi for their safe return,” said an official who declined to be identified.
The INM said there was no precedent in its history of the trans-Atlantic deportation of such a large number of people by air.
The Indian nationals did not have documentation to stay in Mexico and their deportation was arranged after their identities were verified by Indian authorities, people familiar with developments said. No further deportations were expected, they added.
The deportation was done in “excellent communication and coordination” with Indian authorities and under the provisions of the migration law and regulations, the Mexican statement said. The deportees are being accompanied by federal migration agents and officials of the National Guard of Mexico.
The Indian nationals were detained by immigration authorities in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Baja California, Veracruz, Chiapas, Sonora, Mexico City, Durango and Tabasco. They were taken to the Acayucan migration station in Veracruz to verify their identities before being put on the chartered flight.
In May, US President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on all Mexican imports to pressure the country to do more to crack down on illegal migrants trying to cross the border. Trump also said the tariffs would increase until the entry of illegal migrants stopped but the two countries subsequently agreed on a 90-day window for Mexico to crack down on migration.
In recent years, Indian migrants have made efforts to illegally cross over to the US from Mexico. The number of migrants detained along the southern US border over the past 12 months rose to nearly 1 million, according to official data. In September, INM reported that 42 Indians were among 167 illegal migrants detained by authorities in Veracruz state.