U.S.-bound Cuban migrants are claiming they are stranded at the Siglo XXI detention center in the Mexican city of Tapachula. The migrants have families in the U.S., who told the Miami Herald they have received calls for money in exchange for their stranded relatives.
“For weeks, we have been getting calls from somebody demanding money if we want to see our family members again,” one mother told the Herald. She said a man told her he was a lawyer. “He tried to find out the names of our relatives and told us that he could help us get them out of there for a sum of money.”
One of the Cuban migrants stranded outside of the detention center, Yuniel, says he believes the calls are coming from agents at the National Institute of Migration (INM).
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“We all know that migration officials have some way of getting the numbers called to the United States. Somehow, they find out the numbers and then take advantage to extort the family,” he said.
It is reported that relatives of three other migrants have said the same thing has happened to them.
INM confirmed to el Nuevo Herald that 90 Cubans were detained at Siglo XXI. It reports that 59 of them requested protection before a judge and 23 sought refuge from Mexican authorities. Eight others are waiting on Cuba to deem them citizens, in which case they would be deported immediately.
But one mother disagrees. “They were beaten, their blankets and mattresses were taken away, forcing them to sleep in cement bunks. They are being closely watched and held as if they were criminals. My son could disappear, just as the others,” she said.
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