A handful of Central American migrants take Mexican goverment job opportunities to escape U.S. hostility, their very presence receives rejection and xenophia. Amongst the hundred of Central American Migrants denied passage to the United States, and currently stranded at the border border in Mexico, some are taking offers for work by their host government.
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“If we had work, we would stay. This has been very tiring,” Orbelina Orellana told Reuters.
“I cry a lot to not be able to feed them as I’d like…I just want an opportunity,” said Orellana, a 26 year-old mother of three, who is currently situated at a shelter in Mexicali, which shares a border with California.
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Some Mexican leaders see economic integration of migrants as a contribution to maintaining social order as well as a way to fill up vacancies, “We know the situation that these people face in their country. But we also favor order in order to integrate them into the labor sector, because only in Tijuana do we have a demand in the maquiladora industry for 5,000 people,” Ulises Araize, President of the Association of Human Resources Industry in Tijuana, told Reuters.
For his part, Tijuana‘s mayor has recently called for a referendum to limit the entry of Central American migrants, calling them a ” hoard ” and stoking negative reactions against these people who are facing a dire humanitarian situation.
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“We don’t want you here!” and “Migrants are pigs,” are some of the negative reactions that Tijuana residents have shouted at migrants in the Mexican city, according to the San Diego Tribune.
Nearly 3,000 migrants, the majority Honduran, have arrived in Tijuana as of late. The Mexican government estimates another 7,000 could be arriving soon, according to the same publication.
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Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto has previously offered work to caravan migrant’s who are able to obtain a legal status within the country, in the manufacturing, assembly and processing industry known as “maquiladora.”
A 2018 report conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) highlights that the maquiladora industry is a sector of the economy where workers are paid “low wages” to a “number of low skilled workers…to assemble products for shipments to the United States, largely on behalf of multinational firms,” and that the wages they offer are less than those of other industries in Mexico’s manufacturing industry, where wages account for “the greatest part of their value added.”