December is usually a busy time for Mexican migrants to drive home for the holidays, but the Mexican government is advising them to travel in convoys this year.
Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University says the new advisory sheds light on Mexico's continuing struggle to overcome drug cartels.
"In the past, a lot of people were able to drive down from the United States," Jones said. "People would come from Georgia, New York and certainly Texas, and drive to whatever (Mexican) state they were headed to. (It was) just like driving in the United States. You'd get in the car, pack up the luggage, pack up the kids, pack up the gifts, and drive on down. Now that trip is a lot more treacherous, and a lot more difficult. As a result, half of the people who used to go are no longer going."
When asked how that affected Texas and the United States, Jones said:
"One thing that’s happening is you lose out on a lot of big ticket items that people were taking back as holiday gifts. Washers, dryers, microwaves, a lot of durable goods that are much more expensive in Mexico will not be purchased and taken to their relatives. There's often a birthday gift, Christmas gift, and wedding gift all wrapped in one because this is the only time people travel. (Also), since it's much more difficult to cross now (and) they're much less likely to go home, we sorta bottled up a lot of undocumented immigrants who are here in the United States who in the past used to go home for three to four months."
Jones also said the warning to travel in packs indicates the Mexican government doesn't have control of the nation.
"The Mexican government trying to make the best of a bad situation. Convoys are likely to help avoid petty crime, but they aren't going to avoid the large scale operations which the drug cartels are carrying out on a daily basis in Mexico. It suggests the Mexican government has a real lack of control over governance and security when they're suggesting that people travel in convoys. It sounds like a movie rather than a modern state that’s miles away from the United States border."
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