Migrants traveling through Mexico

Nearly 900 officials in Mexico's National Migration Institute (INM) were sanctioned over the last seven years, pointing to an endemically high level of corruption that is instrumental in aiding the country's human smuggling networks and selling migrants to drug gangs.

From January 2006 to December 2012, 883 INM officials were suspended, fined or dismissed from the job for irregular conduct, equating to over 10 corruption cases a month, reported El Economista.

According to the report, 2011 was the worst year for corruption within the INM, with 230 cases registered. 

The release of these statistics appears to have come as a result of the Federal Institute of Access to Public Information and Data Protection (IFAI) having ordered the INM to provide information on the number of dismissals carried out since 2006. 

On January 5, two days prior to the figures becoming public, Father Alejandro Solalinde, who is actively involved in defending migrants' rights, called on the government to make restructuring the INM a priority or risk continually high levels of corruption, reported Diario de Yucatan.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico is a key transit point for thousands of illegal Central American migrants travelling north to the United States. These people -- who typically enlist the help of so-called "coyotes" to help smuggle them through the country -- are highly vulnerable to organized criminal groups seeking to kidnap and extort them on their journey. The most notorious among these groups is the Zetas who were responsible for the massacre of 72 Central American migrants in 2010.

[See InSight Crime's special on migrants: Part I, Part II, and Part III]


Corruption within the INM, particularly in the form of complicity with criminal networks, is not new. In 2011, for example, a group of over 100 migrants claimed that after were detained by the INM, the agency handed them over to gangs who held them hostage for ransom. Six INM officials were subsequently arrested. 

These latest figures do not provide a breakdown of why the officers in question were sanctioned. However, the alarming number of cases over the last seven years points to worrying signs that gangs are heavily reliant on corrupt authorities to operate their migrant kidnapping rings.

The government announced in 2011 that it would conduct a series of sweeping reforms of the immigration institution. Given the number of officials sanctioned in 2012 (198), though, it appears such measures are still a long way off.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

When considering the possibilities that the FARC may break apart, the Ivan Rios Bloc is a helpful case study because it is perhaps the weakest of the FARC's divisions in terms of command and control, and therefore runs the highest risk of fragmentation and criminalization.

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

While there is no doubt that the FARC have only a tenuous control over some of their more remote fronts, there is no evidence of any overt dissident faction within the movement at the moment.

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

A Look Inside El Salvador's Prison Nightmare (Video)

A Look Inside El Salvador's Prison Nightmare (Video)

El Salvador's Cojutepeque jail is a perfect illustration of how prisons in this country have become the main breeding and training grounds for street gangs.

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Lechuga Mojica, alias "El Viejo Lin," is one of the most prominent spokesmen for El Salvador's gang truce. InSight Crime co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Mojica in Cojutepeque prison in October 2012 about how the maras view the controversial peace process, which has...

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against less than fifty guerrillas in the tiny community of Marquetalia. The aim of the operation was to stamp out once and for all the communist threat in...

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with the seemingly intractable issue of street gangs. But it also creates new dangers.

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

If we are to believe the Colombian government, the question is not if, but rather when, an end to 50 years of civil conflict will be reached. Yet the promise of President Juan Manuel Santos that peace can be achieved before the end of 2014 is simply...

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

In October 2012, the US Treasury Department designated the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). While this assertion seems unfounded, there is one case that illustrates just why the US government is worried about the future.