Things That Matter

Deportees Sent To Mexico Are Being Given A Chance To Join Mexico’s Growing Tech Industry

@marcetorresg / Twitter

For many young deportees and immigrants returning to Mexico finding a job is a hard task. Especially for those that who have spent significant amounts of time in the U.S. That difficulty is compounded when they find out the education they received in the U.S. doesn’t always transferHola Code, a tech boot camp based in Mexico City, is trying to change that by giving deportees and immigrants skills and networking opportunities in the tech industry. The company got its start in 2017 and has taken advantage of the growing demand for software engineers and the enormous potential talent of youth in Mexico.

The average student at Hola Code is 18-35 years old and has been living within the U.S. for about a decade or longer.

Hola Code, designed after Hack Reactor, a popular coding school in San Francisco, throws students into an intensive 20-week course that trains them in tech and prepares them to be placed in high paying tech jobs. Students receive a monthly stipend while attending the training. Students also do not have to pay for the tuition until they secure a job as software engineers after graduating and are making at least 20,000 Mexican pesos a month.

Many participants in the program are former Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries that have either been deported or returned to Mexico.

Many of the students in the program are former participants of DACA, the U.S. immigration policy that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Since the uncertainty that the policy would survive due to the Trump administration, young people have either been deported or returned to Mexico looking for job opportunities that they couldn’t obtain in the U.S.

Jobs are opening as a result of Mexico’s recent leaps in the tech industry.

Marcela Torres, one of the founders of Hola Code, says the young people taking on the program are finding opportunities they may have never found if they stayed in the U.S. “We were given this gift from the United States,” Torres told MarketPlace.org .”I know it’s horrible to say it that way, because I know they miss it, and they call it home. But if Mexico really took the opportunity and used their potential, it could be endless.”

The cost for students to attend Hola Code? Nothing.

Hola Code is creating a culture of building community and ensuring the company can continue to give this life changing opportunity to others. The salary graduates receive is a life changing amount of money in a country with a struggling economy.

Students who have completed the program at Hola Code have found jobs they could never imagine.

Eddy Barranon, who grew up in Illinois, was deported to Mexico City last year. He is a student at Hola Code who faced uncertainty when he first arrived in Mexico. After he finished the program, he became one of many students who have not only found a job in the tech industry but have found themselves.

“Now that I’m back in Mexico and actually being someone, and having a career, it’s awesome,” Barranon told CGTN America. “It’s something that I never thought I would have because of the chances I didn’t have over there in the United States.”


READ: This Organization Is Offering Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation Free Legal Help

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Mexico Tells The US There Will Be No ‘Safe Third Country’ Agreement And Here’s What That Means For Migrants

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Mexico Tells The US There Will Be No ‘Safe Third Country’ Agreement And Here’s What That Means For Migrants

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Over the summer, Trump came down hard on Mexico and other Central American nations in an effort to make his base happy by reducing migration to the US. He threatened to slap tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Mexican goods bound for the US unless Mexico did more to stem the flow of migrants making their way to the US border.

Mexico agreed and implemented several of their own inhumane policies targeting migrants and deployed a new national guard force to its southern border with Guatemala. Now, as apprehensions at the US-Mexico border have dropped, the US is still pushing for a ‘safe third country’ agreement with Mexico. And Mexico is saying no thank you!

Mexico’s Foreign Minister rejected calls for a ‘safe third country’ deal because other policies are already working.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that Mexico doesn’t need to take any new measures to reduce the number of undocumented migrants bound for the U.S. because the current strategy is proving successful.

Ebrard said Mexico’s efforts have reduced undocumented migration from Central America by 70% and that he expects the trend to be irreversible. Ebrard said he also told Trump that a Safe Third Country agreement, which would make refugees apply for asylum in Mexico before the U.S. and has been sought by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, doesn’t have support from Mexico’s Senate nor president.

The Foreign Minister led a Mexican delegation on Tuesday for meetings at the White House that included a brief conversation with President Donald Trump. Ebrard said that he explained the importance of the steps Mexico has taken since June, including the deployment of the National Guard, and also expressed concern about guns flowing south from the U.S.

Even Trump himself had praise for the ‘progress’ being made by Mexico.

Trump took to Twitter to tout the major decline in apprehensions at the Southern Border. Of course, in typical Trump fashion, he claimed credit for the decrease. Trump had threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican goods bound for the US back in June, unless Mexico played a more active role in preventing migrants from reaching the US border.

Since then, Mexico has bolstered its immigration enforcement, deploying newly formed National Guards units and other officials to its southern border with Guatemala. The government there has also worked with U.S. officials as the Trump administration expands the controversial “Remain in Mexico” program

A ‘safe third country’ agreement, like the ones agreed to by Guatemala and Honduras would put migrant’s lives at an even greater risk.

Although the two countries don’t have a safe third country agreement in place, Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is effectively the same thing.

A statement from Pence’s office after Tuesday’s meeting said the nations agreed to implement “to the fullest extent possible” the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico.” More than 42,000 non-Mexican migrants have been sent to Mexico to wait weeks or months for their U.S. legal processes since the program began in January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Human rights advocates say this makes them vulnerable to the violence that plagues many of the cities on Mexico’s northern border.

And, meanwhile, the US court system has allowed the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy to resume for migrants who cross into New Mexico and Texas.

The Ninth Circuit court has temporarily lifted a nationwide injunction against President Donald Trump’s effort to deny asylum to immigrants who enter the U.S. after passing through another country.

The ruling basically lifted the injunction that was put in place blocking Trump’s expansion of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. Now, with this ruling, Trump can expand his policy to the border states outside the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction – New Mexico and Texas.

One of the central arguments against safe third country agreements, is that it creates extra pressures on governments already struggling to help refugees.

Many experts say that Guatemala and Mexico lack the resources to handle so many asylum claims and point to State Department warnings that asylum seekers are at risk of violence in both countries. Many also say that such agreements don’t address the root causes that push people to flee and may just encourage them to find different routes to the United States.

Crimes against migrants largely go unsolved and unpunished.

The State Department’s own advisory for Tamaulipas (a state where migrants are returned to under the ‘Remain in Mexico policy) warns against all travel here. “Federal and state security forces have limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state,” it says.

“For us, for everyone, it’s very dangerous,” agreed Pastor Aarón Méndez Ruiz, who runs the Casa del Migrante Amar, a shelter in Nuevo Laredo.

Migrants have long been frequent targets of crime here. The risks are high enough that rather than let Mexican deportees walk from the border bridge to the state migrant reception center nearby, officials transport them in vans.

Criminals were making such easy prey of migrants coming and going from one migrant shelter that the federal police posted a permanent, round-the-clock sentry across the street.

Hoping To Stop The Drug War, Mexico’s President Asks Drug Cartel Leaders To ‘Think Of Your Mother’

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Hoping To Stop The Drug War, Mexico’s President Asks Drug Cartel Leaders To ‘Think Of Your Mother’

bbeatrizgm / Instagram

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came out with an appeal recently to the country’s cartels to think about their mamás. And, if we’re really honest, it almost sounded like the kind of lecture we’d suffer from our own mamás if we decided to act up. But, unlike the earful we get from our mamás, it seems unlikely that Lopez Obrador’s speech is going to create the guilt trip it needs to, in order to get Mexico’s cartels to clean up their act.

Okay, tell us what AMLO’s impression of a mamá-lecture sounds like.

Instagram / @bbeatrizgm

During what was a relatively routine kind of visit at the Tula rural hospital in southwestern Tamaulipas on Saturday, Lopez Obrador commented on recent gang violence. “They are in the wrong, it shouldn’t be like this, I call on them to find other things to do, to think about themselves, their families, their mothers: they know how much their mothers suffer because of the sublime love they have for their children, and they need to think about that,” he said to the locals.

But to be fair, it’s not all the President said.

Pinterest / Eaiara

And, okay, he didn’t just say that and then that was the end of it. Lopez Obrador’s comments were part of a larger statement about crime and violence in the state of Tamaulipas. While he didn’t make any specific statements about what and whose violence he found most concerning, it was implied that the biggest challenge on the horizon has appeared in the form of the Cartel del Noreste – a splinter group formed from the Los Zetas cartel. “To hell with crime,” Lopez Obrador said. “It’s gross! Disgusting!”

So what’s the Cartel del Noreste been doing that’s got everyone so worked up?

Instagram / @mttbrogan

It was only a week ago reports had surfaced that gas stations towards the north of Tamaulipas were refusing to fill the tanks of army and police vehicles. The reason? Cartel del Noreste had threatened to attack any service stations that sold gas to the military and police. At the time of writing, the debacle is being investigated as a criminal case of refusal of service, with authorities seeking to address the issue without punishing the gas stations themselves.

Recently, cartels have stepped up their violent attacks – including ones on the police and military.

Instagram / @mexicanspecialforces

The incident is only the latest that’s come from the cartels operating in the area. In fact, gang members have been responsible for direct attacks on army bases and patrols. It’s not uncommon for the cartels to wear counterfeit military uniforms, travel in large convoys, drive armored trucks and even redirect traffic, mimicking military activity. Believe it or not, in some areas of Tamaulipas, the cartels have set up their own surveillance systems in the streets in order to monitor the activities of local officials. Ultimately, while it’s great to see Lopez Obrador publicly putting his voice behind the authorities, gang activity has become considerably sophisticated

Surely AMLO doesn’t think that his speech is going to make that much of a difference to what’s been happening?

Instagram / @revolucionmorena

At this stage, it’s a little late in the piece to start lecturing gang members on their activities, and bringing their mothers, of all people, into the conversation. If the cartels were that concerned about the effect their illicit activities were going to have on their mamás, then they wouldn’t be involved in the scene in the first place. And in all frankness, it’s more likely that the gang members stay in the cartels because they would be more afraid of retribution from gangs for trying to leave, than potential punishment from the government, should they choose to stay.

Many feel the President was trying to make a point that his administration doesn’t condone crime.

Instagram / @razielsforza

Unfortunately, it would seem that Lopez Obrador is most likely making these comments to try and drive home the message that his administration doesn’t condone crime. It was only a few days beforehand that he was publicly talking about how the current administration has eliminated corruption within the government … since he’s come under fire for not doing enough to lower the crime rate in Mexico. However, it is worth noting that part of the reason why authorities are having issues cracking down on gang violence is because of the threat of violence against the officials friends and loved ones. And, of course, the kind of stunts that see businesses refusing to deal with authorities for fear of attracting attention from the likes of Cartel de Noreste. 

In the grand scheme of things, though, it is vital that gang violence be addressed within Mexico – and not just for the sanity of the locals. After all, plenty of places around Mexico are now responsible for holding asylum seekers while they wait to have their case heard by the US judicial system. The rise in gang violence is not only threatening the safety of Mexicans, but refugees alike.