Mexican Officials Tell Fearful Immigrants in U.S. To Stay Calm

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, apparently responding to promises by President-elect Donald J. Trump to step up deportations, announced a plan on Wednesday to provide more protection and support for Mexican immigrants in the United States and urged the Mexican population to “stay calm. In a statement and an accompanying video, both titled “We Are With You,” the ministry laid out an 11-point plan intended to help Mexicans in the United States get accurate information about possible changes in immigration policy and avoid falling victim to “abuse and fraud.”

“Fellow countrymen, these are moments of uncertainty,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, said in the video. “Stay calm, do not fall to provocations and do not let yourself be deceived.” She added: “We want to inform you about possible migratory actions” that could take effect starting in February.

The ministry’s strategy promised an expansion of services offered by Mexico’s Embassy in Washington and its 50 consulates around the United States, including a 24-hour toll-free consular hotline to address migration concerns and report possible fraud; an increase in outreach efforts in neighborhoods with large Mexican populations; and more help for Mexican immigrants to secure identification documents for them and for their American-born children.

While the statements did not specifically mention Mr. Trump or his deportation plans, Mexican officials have been worried about the possibility that he might follow through on his campaign promises to step up deportations beyond even the record rates that President Obama has achieved.Mr. Trump’s victory has rattled the entire region. On Wednesday, the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras issued a joint statement announcing their intention to develop a unified strategy to contend with a Trump administration on shared concerns like migration. El Salvador’s foreign minister, Hugo Martínez, told Reuters that the three countries intended to seek Mexico’s collaboration.

Central America is now a bigger source of migrants than Mexico, as people flee gang violence and poverty in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Mr. Trump’s deportation proposals would certainly result in the return of many Central Americans to countries suffering widespread poverty and crime.

In a television interview broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Trump said he planned to focus his deportation efforts on “people that are criminal and have criminal records,” estimating that this population numbered as many as three million. He suggested a focus on the most serious and dangerous criminals — “gang members, drug dealers,” he said — but left the details vague.

His estimate contrasted with that of the Obama administration, which put the number of “removal criminal aliens” at about 1.9 million, including undocumented immigrants as well as legal permanent residents and immigrants with temporary visas.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump took specific aim at Mexican immigrants. But it remained unclear how many of the deportees in his promised dragnet would be Mexican. In 2014, about 52 percent of the estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States were Mexican, according to the Pew Research Center, and their numbers are thought to have declined since them.

Immigrants and their advocates in the United States are worried that an acceleration of deportations could tear apart families and communities. In anticipation of policy changes, community-based organizations around the country are moving to help immigrants secure their footing and protect them against a possible rise in scams that often accompany changes in immigration policy.

For the Mexican authorities, Mr. Trump’s deportation policy could also have major domestic implications in Mexico, including the return of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans who might struggle to find jobs in an economy already troubled by high unemployment rates. Mass deportations might also result in the loss of many millions of dollars in remittances for Mexico.