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Migrant Activist Clears Charges In Mexico Again, Still Accused In The U.S.

MEXICO CITY — It’s the second time that a migrant rights activist who has worked at the Arizona-Mexico border and with migrant caravans cleared charges in Mexico for human smuggling. But the Trump administration is still accusing him of harboring immigrants. 

Irineo Mújica has been an activist for almost 20 years and is the leader of the nonprofit Pueblos Sin Fronteras. The Mexican court rejected a second attempt trying to put him on trial. 

“The Mexican government, under the pressure of the Trump administration, has been pushing a lot of human rights defenders,” Mújica said.

According to Mújica, the Mexican government is still investigating him. He said the Trump and López Obrador administrations targeted him because he is one of the most visible faces from the Central American migrant caravans from 2018.

In the U.S., Mújica is named as a non-indicted co-conspirator in the case of Scott Warren, an Arizona activist accused of harboring undocumented immigrants.

“It’s a witch hunt for anybody that helps the migrants,” Mújica said.

The activist said he doesn’t even have a relationship with Warren. He blames President Donald Trump for using Mexico to block migrants and for criminalizing activists.

“Immigrants are not for sale, and we should stand up to Donald Trump and his ambition for power,” Mújica said.

Mújica plans to stay in Mexico to clear his name, but he said he will go to the U.S. if needed.

The activist said the newly created Mexican National Guard is focusing on migrants instead of on the rising crime wave in Mexico, while migrant facilities in the U.S. look like cages, keeping people in subhuman conditions.

For him, the current U.S. migration policies don’t represent the values of the American people.

“I’m paying some of the price, and I’m glad to pay for the price as long as we know that we are doing the right thing for the right reasons,” Mújica said.

Rodrigo Cervantes is KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City, where he was born and raised. He has served as opinion writer, contributor and commentator for several media outlets and organizations in Mexico and the United States, including CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Univisión. Cervantes previously worked as the business editor and editorial coordinator for El Norte, the leading newspaper in Monterrey and a publication of Grupo Reforma, Mexico’s premier news group. In Mexico City, Cervantes served in Reforma as a reporter, special correspondent, editor and special sections coordinator. Cervantes also held the editor position at MundoHispánico, a division of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia’s oldest and largest Latino newspaper. He also participated as one of the first members of the Diversity Advisory Group for Cox Media. In 2012, Cervantes was appointed as fellow for the Leadership Program of The New York Times/Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, as well as for the "Líderes Digitales" program from the International Center for Journalists. In 2010, he was awarded with the Poynter-McCormick Leadership Fellowship. Cervantes graduated with honors in communication sciences and journalism from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico City Campus. Later, he was granted the Fundación Carolina Scholarship from the Spanish government to obtain an MBA degree at San Pablo-CEU School of Business (Madrid). Other awards include: the Power 30 Under 30 Award for Professional and Community Excellence in Atlanta, the Outstanding Alumni Medal from ITESM, and several José Martí Awards for Journalism Excellence from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). Cervantes enjoys music, books, travel, friendship, good mezcal and the occasional company of his guitar.