Mexico’s rejection of Central Americans is racism; they are not a threat and they do not come to take anything away from us

Thousands of people are not a danger in a population of 120 million people. If they are employed they will do it in precarious jobs that Mexicans do not want, and they are not criminals, they are fleeing from poverty and violence.

Among the news published these days about the Central American exodus is the video of a volunteer at the Jesús Martínez ‘Palillo stadium, in the city hall of Iztacalco, in Mexico City. It is part of the group of people who are there to support the migrant caravan. The young man tells the box that for now there are enough donations of women’s and children’s clothes. Ask to wear better men’s clothing, tennis, jackets, boxers, and socks.

In the comments left in the video there are phrases like: “ah yes, and nothing else that Gucci want, Oscar de la Renta, Dockers, Levis, everything they want those criminals” or “asómate how are the people of Tepic, and Mexicans They are more concerned about these criminals who entered the country violently and illegally. “

There are many messages on social networks with the same words: criminals, illegal, violent. Many more enunciate the fear that not only want to go through Mexico to the United States but want to stay and then cause overpopulation, unemployment, more crime. The contrast is in the support response of the poor communities where the caravan has passed. In the networks has also been a testimony of that: those with fewer resources supporting migrants than others, in a better position, seem a danger.

Máximo Jaramillo, coordinator of Inequality Studies at Oxfam Mexico, says that this part of the reaction, xenophobic-class-racist, is one more expression of the meritocratic narrative: denied to recognize the privileges of some sectors for their origin. “Through these narratives, they justify what they have and that no further action is taken to try to change inequality.”

This type of positioning, the researcher adds, is usually reproduced by those who self-assign to the middle class, although in reality, they do not belong to it: sectors of the upper class and those who actually, by income, are located in the lower class. . “In Mexico, according to data from INEGI, the middle class represents 40% of the total population of the country, but 70% self-ascribe to that group.” 30% imaginatively misplaced are those who most strongly support these individualist or meritocratic narratives.

The survey Caravana Migrante, of Consulta Mitofsky,  also gives information regarding the profile of those who reject the exodus. The results show that 51% of Mexicans agree with the proposal of the president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, about offering decent jobs and 42% reject it. The sectors that show the most support for the caravan are men; the inhabitants of rural localities, and those of lower economic level. The sector with the most rejection is constituted by the voters of the PAN in the presidential elections; who reside in the west or the shoal of the country, and who make up the middle class.

The main argument of those who are against the caravan is that their presence can cause insecurity; unemployment for Mexicans; overpopulation; greater crisis, and fear or fear. But all this is just a xenophobic and racist reaction, agrees Patricio Solís, a research professor at the Center for Sociological Studies at El Colegio de México (COLMEX). “They are crutches that are placed to prejudice to justify them.”

Solis says that in terms of quantity, a caravan of 7 thousand people is no threat to a population of more than 120 million. That number, and even a higher number would not affect the population density of the country. The Central Americans would not alter the availability of jobs either. Even when the number of migrants was greater and permanent, it would not impact on the occupation of Mexicans, because of the type of work they usually perform. “Because of their qualification levels,” the researcher explains, “and because of their employment background, these migrants are located in the lower part of the occupational stratification.”

Jaramillo, the Oxfam researcher, says that migrants from the Central American exodus will not keep the job of a professional. “The most common thing when they are hired on the southern border, with the permits for border worker visitor cards, is to use them in the countryside, in jobs that are a little more precarious than those that would be held by nationals. It’s the same logic when they hire Mexican migrants in the United States. “

Of the workers who are employed in Mexico and who are migrants, specifies Máximo Jaramillo, 74%, three of every four do not have work benefits. “Of that magnitude is their bad situation, so they could not be competing with the employment of all those who are worried in social networks”.

It is not that they are criminals, “they are not people who come to do bad things, they are people who are fleeing from serious situations such as violence and poverty in their countries,” says Ana Saiz, director of Sin Fronteras. “Irregular migration is not a crime nor is the need for international protection, this is a right, and that is not why they are criminals”, explains Daniela Gutiérrez, coordinator of the Asylum Seekers Area of the Mexican Commission for Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH).

Why then do they cause so much fear?

Patricio Solis explains that the migration exodus that really threatens is our nationalism, built on a process of miscegenation that ultimately leads to a process of whitening of the population. “It is an aspirational mestizaje that tends to go white, and the migration that comes from the south in some way represents a setback in that bleaching project of Mexican society.” That is why it would not happen the same if these migrants were European, he adds. The reactions would not be so strong. “Here all our ghosts are intertwined, it is a mixture of racism, xenophobia, classism, which manifests itself in this particular conjuncture”.

If the origin of the migrants employed in Mexico is analyzed, says Máximo Jaramillo, it turns out that, according to INEGI data, 17% is from Central America and 13% is from Europe. “The difference is small, but clearly the ones that worry us are the Central Americans and not the Europeans when it is they who bring higher levels of education and can represent competition for the middle class.”

Regarding the first attention to the poor of Mexico and then think of the Central Americans, “in the end,” says Jaramillo, “and of course there are criticisms of how it is done, but the population in poverty is already being served. Mexico, it’s not that they do not attend. The other thing is that migrants do not come to be beneficiaries of the great social programs. “

What they are offering with the program “You are at home”, for example, is medical care and temporary employment. “What they would aspire to is something less than the popular insurance, which in itself is very lacking. It’s not like they’re going to take the place of a Mexican in medical care, and about employment, it was said, would be temporary and precarious. The government is really not offering them anything else and who knows if that is going to be fulfilled. “

This publication was made possible thanks to the support of the Kellogg Foundation.

Source: Animal Politico by  Andrea Vega

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