REYNOSA, Mexico — The deportees arrive after dark, usually between 100 and 200 of them, deposited by U.S. immigration officials at a bridge that connects the United States to one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico.
Many of the deportees, all Mexican, have been living illegally in the United States for years, and they don’t know Reynosa’s reputation. It is the least secure city in Mexico, according to a government survey. It is in a state, Tamaulipas, that is the only place along Mexico’s northern border to carry the State Department’s most severe travel warning, putting it in the same category as Afghanistan and North Korea.
From 2017 to 2018, the number of homicides more than doubled to 225 in the city of 600,000. At least another 2,500 people are missing. Criminal groups enrich themselves through kidnapping and extortion, with migrants among their most common targets.
Last year, a third of people deported from the United States to Mexico, about 60,000 as of October, were sent through Tamaulipas. About 16,500 of the deportees arrived in Reynosa. Mexican officials and human rights advocates argue that the U.S. practice of sending deportees to these areas is a flagrant human rights violation.