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Friends And Relatives Of Missing Mexican College Students Speak Wisconsin

Group Ties Mexican Violence And Corruption To U.S. Immigration

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Relatives and classmates of some of the 43 Mexican students missing since last fall are in Wisconsin talking about immigration to the United States and alleged corruption in Mexico.

Federal authorities in Mexico say that, last September, local police arrested the 43 college students and turned them over to a drug gang to be killed. A local mayor and his wife were also implicated in the case that sparked public outrage across Mexico and highlighted the country’s uncomfortable history of close relationships between criminal elements and public officials.

The Mexican government has officially declared the 43 students dead but no signs of them have been found.

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Three relatives and friends of the students who are touring the U.S. said Mexican authorities can’t be trusted and the 43 may be alive. Cruz Salbador said the case is an example of the violence and corruption that make some flee Mexico to the U.S.

“We do see the connection (to immigration) because of the insecurity and instability we see in Mexico,” Salbador said. “We know well, that there are common graves all over the country.”

Immigration policy remains a contentious issue in the U.S., including in Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker has recently wavered between an earlier, more-permissive stance on immigration and a tougher, anti-amnesty position in the runup to a likely presidential bid.