La Union is a village in Mexico that borders with Blue Creek Village in north-western Belize. It is an area that has been traversed by hundreds of Belizeans for years. The appeal of the location is the cheap prices on beers and basic commodities ranging from eggs to toilet paper and detergents. The Government of Belize under both the Musa and Barrow administrations are well aware of this crossing over the Rio Hondo but for whatever reasons they have turned a blind eye on the matter. It is not an official point of entry or exit for Belize or Mexico and with that the Immigration Department has endeavor to put a stop to the illegal crossings taking place. Minister of State for Immigration, Beverly Williams explained the rationale behind this operation.
“It is indeed not a port of entry or even a border crossing the people who live in the La Union area often times cross a side too buy groceries at the shop close by, the stores that are right on the border but it is indeed not a border crossing it is not official and so we will not be stamping people to go across and come across. I’ve indicated to the director that we have to put a stop to it so we are going to look at how we can team up with the traffic department to turn those busses away because that is then not going to work well and you know when you have unofficial border crossings there are opportunities for just about everything to happen; money laundering, drug trafficking, you will have the human trafficking in the area and so we would not be in a position to look at border control because the structure would not be set up in that area. So it is not a border crossing so those buses are not authorized. I heard we have excursions coming from as far south as PG going that way but we would like to make it known that that is not a declared port of entry so they are not allowed to cross in that area. The people who are crossing illegally they don’t take passports some people would just show your social security ID but the immigration officers are therefore control purposes and should really stop them from crossing. There should be no persons allowed to cross without an official document and we don’t want them to cross in that area at all because the structures are not there. So you must go to the northern border official border crossing area. And so we should be doing patrols not be setting up a post and using staff there we should be doing patrols to ensure that we manage the border where there are no checkpoints so we just do patrols along the area rather than standing there waiting for people to come on an excursion and to stamp off, then we are stamping something that is not legal.”
Love News understands that while there was no requirement for passports when crossing into La Union, Mexico, there is reportedly a team of Customs officers who do charge a minimal duty tax on some of the items being crossed into Belize. Facilitating these illegal crossings are canoes that are posted at the water’s edge to transport those heading to La Union. There are no official figures as to how many persons do traverse the area on a regular basis.