At Nogales rally, Mexico’s president-elect says he’ll cut taxes, raise wages

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, left, Mexico’s president-elect, greets supporters before a rally in Nogales, Sonora. “There can’t be a rich country with a poor people,” said the man who plans to slash his own salary by 40 percent. Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star

NOGALES, Sonora — At a rally Friday night, Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to cut taxes and double the minimum wage in the border region to make it more competitive.

That is part of a wider plan to improve conditions in Mexico enough so people don’t have the need to migrate, he said.

“It’s part of a strategy, not an isolated plan,” to create a curtain across the country that retains Mexicans in Mexico, López Obrador said. “So that the Mexican can work and be happy where he was born, where his family is, where his culture is.”

He told a cheering crowd of about 2,000 people congregated in a plaza near the international line that he would halve the national 16 percent value-added tax and have price parity between Mexican and U.S. border communities when it comes to the cost of gas, diesel and electricity.

The left-wing leader, who won the presidential election in July by landslide, came to Nogales for the first time as president-elect as part of a tour through the country to thank his supporters. He visited San Luis Rio Colorado earlier Friday and was scheduled to meet with Sonora’s governor, Claudia Pavlovich, in Hermosillo before a visit to the port city of Guaymas and to Ciudad Obregón. He said he will visit Nogales every six months.

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Shelters for child immigrants struggle with accountability, consistent monitoring

Emily Macaluso, a former lead teacher at Southwest Key’s immigrant shelter in Tucson, examines a collection of artwork and letters at her home. The collection includes items and writings the children made for her before she left the job. Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star

They’ve been called everything from baby jails to summer camps, but an in- depth look at shelters for immigrant minors reveals a well-intentioned system that had to expand rapidly and that struggles with accountability and consistent monitoring.

The shelters — 100 nationwide — had been working largely out of the public eye until this summer, as news spread that the U.S. government was splitting families at the border and that some of the children were being housed there. Protesters started to show up and increased media scrutiny has since revealed instances of overmedication, sexual abuse and improper use of physical restraints.

In Tucson, the Arizona Daily Star reviewed nearly 100 incident reports to the Tucson Police Department from Southwest Key’s Estrella del Norte shelter, inspection reports from the Arizona Department of Health Services, and spoke with several current and former employees, as well as with long-time experts.

While advocates said the current situation is a vast improvement from prior decades, they added that efforts by the Trump administration to roll back protections for the minors can mean longer stays and increases the likelihood of something going wrong.

The changes, said Michelle Brané, director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, shift the focus from the welfare of children to enforcement.

“All of this combined with larger facilities, more focus on the detention aspect compared to the case management and release aspect, is bound to have more problems,” she said, and to erode “a lot of progress we’ve made in the past 20 years.”

Continue reading at the Arizona Daily Star.