The Mexican and US governments are complicit in the violence against Central Americans in more ways than one. Last year, Mexico deported more than 140,000 Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans – or twice as much as the US deported. Some of their ramped up deportation efforts has led to dangerous profiling against their own people. A few years ago, immigration agents questioned three indigenous siblings from Chiapas, believing they were Central American. Because they spoke the Mayan language Tzetzal, officials were able to coerce Alberto into claiming he was from Guatemala. The Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) and other activist groups pushed for the release of the siblings, who now refuse to leave Chiapas.
Amidst all of this, Luna says it’s impossible to ignore what’s happening in Mexico. “It’s easy to talk about the Syrian refugee crisis, but it costs us to recognize what’s happening here,” Luna said at an event announcing the Children on the Run campaign. “Today Mexico … is no longer just a place of transit, it’s become the place that many people want to reach.”