Memo From Mexico | How Mexico Handles Illegals – Oops, Mexican Indians!
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The Mexican government demands that Americans grant amnesty and government benefits to Mexican illegal aliens in the United States.  But for years Mexican immigration officials have detained, imprisoned and deported Central American illegal aliens. Somehow, Mexico's immigration policy is not on the negotiating table.

Check this out: on January 4th, in Sonora, Mexico, seven Mexican Indians—Mexican citizens of non-European, indigenous origin—were mistaken for Guatemalans, detained by the INM (Mexican INS), then imprisoned for ten days and almost deported to Guatemala!

The detainees were from the state of Chiapas (which borders Guatemala). They had traveled by plane to Sonora (which borders Arizona) in order to work at a job they had already been contracted for. They were mistaken for Guatemalans by INM officials in the Hermosillo, Sonora airport.

To be sure, there are great differences between northern and southern Mexico—cultural differences, economic differences and yes—racial differences. On the other hand, Chiapans and Guatemalans do share a number of similarities. So it's entirely understandable that INM inspectors in Sonora would confuse them.

But hey, isn't that racial profiling?

And besides, the Chiapans had ID—it just wasn't accepted.

Adriana Ventura, one of the detained Chiapans, described the situation thusly:

"our destination was Caborca, Sonora, where we were contracted as laborers, but in Hermosillo....migration agents in the airport....detained and imprisoned us....under the argument that we were Guatemalans and that our ID's were false."

The detainees were taken to Chiapas, and their Mexican citizenship was not discovered until they were on the Mexican-Guatemalan border, on the verge of being deported to Guatemala, after ten days of imprisonment.

The seven detainees reported being "....ill-treated, insulted and threatened by Migration agents, who provided them with neither water nor food ...." which, to add insult to injury, they had to pay for themselves.

There are several pertinent questions one could ask in response to this incident:

  1. Was it an isolated incident, or does it occur more frequently?
  2. What does it indicate about racial profiling and Mexican race relations in general?
  3. Since the Mexican government provides consular cards to Mexican illegal aliens in the U.S. (to prevent their deportation to Mexico), what can the same government do for Mexican citizens in Mexico to prevent their deportation to Guatemala?

Allan Wall is an American citizen who has lived and worked in Mexico since 1991. Presently employed as an English instructor, Allan has legal permission from the Mexican government to live and work in Mexico under the rubric of an FM-2 migration document.  His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his articles are archived here. Allan Wall welcomes questions or comments (pro or con) at

January 28, 2002

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