Best of AP — Second Winner


AP team shows Mexico’s tactic to keep migrants from reaching US border: wear them out

Yeneska Garcia, a Venezuelan migrant, cries into her hands as she eats at the Peace Oasis of the Holy Spirit Amparito shelter in Villahermosa, Mexico, Friday, June 7, 2024. Since the 23-year-old fled Venezuela in January, she trekked days through the jungles of The Darien Gap, narrowly survived being kidnapped by Mexican cartels and waited months for an asylum appointment with the U.S. that never came through. AP PHOTO / FELIX MARQUEZ

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After President Joe Biden announced measures to make it more difficult for people to seek asylum at the U.S. southern border, Mexico City reporter Megan Janetsky and photographer Félix Márquez went to the southeastern state of Tabasco to observe how U.S. pressure has affected Mexico’s border tactics.

What they found was a policy of deterring migrants from crossing by wearing them out. Many of the migrants detained in northern Mexico or even the U.S. were eventually bussed to the state capital in Tabasco to start their journey over again. The team found migrants who had been sent back south as many as six times, exhausting their already dwindling resources and making them vulnerable to being kidnapped.

Márquez captured exhausted migrants crying in a shelter, sleeping outside a bus station and being pulled off buses at checkpoints. Data analyzed by Mexico City reporter María Verza showed that Mexico’s migrant encounters had grown even while deportations shrank. She then asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador about it in a morning news briefing.

The AP team of Janetsky, Márquez and Verza were able to show what other national and international media outlets did not: an up-close look at what Mexico was doing to support U.S. immigration policy.

The story was featured on several media outlets and Janetsky was interviewed on a podcast covering immigration issues.

For sharing the first-hand accounts of migrants enduring Mexico’s exhausting tactics to curtail immigration north, Janetsky, Márquez and Verza win this week’s Best of AP — Second Winner.

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