A growing number of indigenous Mexicans are being detained and threatened with expulsion by immigration agents looking for undocumented Central American migrants.
According to the Guardian, Sisters Amy (24) and Esther (15) Juárez, along with their brother, Alberto (18) boarded a bus full of seasonal workers heading for a farm at the other end of Mexico from their home in the poverty-stricken southern state of Chiapas. But about half-way there, immigration agents boarded the bus — and after checking all the passengers’ papers, ordered the three siblings to get off.
The officials accused them of carrying false documents and lying about their nationality, and told them they would be deported to Guatemala. The baffled sibblings were transferred to an immigration holding centre, where Alberto was taken into a separate room by four agents who told him that unless he signed documents admitting he was Guatemalan, he would die there. Alberto was pushed, kicked and shocked. “I really thought I was going to die, so I signed lots of sheets of paper – but I can’t read or write so I didn’t know what I was signing.”
Officials confiscated their belongings, including a cellphone and documents (birth certificates, social security numbers, electoral registration) which the officials insisted were fake. The three siblings were held for eight days before a lawyer from an activist group filed a legal complaint and eventually secured their release. Their ID documents were not returned because they could not pay the £8 (200 pesos) bribe demanded by officials.
Activists say that Mexico’s National Immigration Institute is increasingly operating like an unchecked police force – and say that that like the country’s security forces, it appears to be systematically using torture against detainees.
The trend comes amid a crackdown on migrants driven in part by political pressure and financial aid from the US. Deportations have already risen exponentially since summer 2014 when Barack Obama declared the surge in Central American child migrants a humanitarian crisis. Campaigners say that Mexico migration officials are running a secret quota system to increase the number of expulsions.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]U.S. financial support for Mexican immigration control has no human rights conditions attached to it. At least $100 million has been spent or pledged for training, new equipment and canine teams, according to Congressional Research Service.[/pullquote]
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DEPORTATION IS DOABLE BY THE BOATLOAD… LITERALLY