Cuban Families Denounce Mexico’s Immigration Authorities for Deception and Extortion

Lismaidy Portal Benacho, her children Adam Jesús and Andrea, and her husband Leynier Valle Machado are in Guadalajara. (José Luis Pérez)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 14 November 2023 — Despite numerous complaints, Mexico continues to extort money from migrants. On this occasion the victim was Mayelín Díaz Vargas, a Cuban. As attorney José Luis Pérez Jiménez told this newspaper, the woman was “coerced” by Jorge Rosalino Valencia, head of operational services of the immigration station of Las Agujas in Mexico City to “stop talking” about the 2,500 dollars that he demanded for not deporting her.

“Rosalino Valencia promised her a document in return for not ratifying the accusation and for not following up with the amparos (protection orders),” the lawyer tells 14ymedio. “The agents released her last Saturday. They took her from the facilities and told her to straighten it out, and if they arrested her again, they would deport her.”

Díaz Vargas is located in Mexico City. He doesn’t want to go out on the street or talk to strangers. He is afraid of being arrested. On Monday night he learned from television news that 246 migrants were arrested in what Migration called a “cleanup operation.”

Initially, the detainees were allowed to carry out their immigration procedures. “They were deceived and transferred to the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, where Migration denied them a safe-conduct to continue  to the border with the United States,” says the lawyer. These Central Americans, Venezuelans and Haitians, among whom there are 54 children, “have not received any documents.”

Rosalino Valencia promised her a document in exchange for not ratifyiing the accusation and not following up with the amparos.

In recent weeks, Mexico has tightened measures to stop the migratory flow. Between November 9 and 14, Migration recorded, as it usually calls it, the “rescue” (detentions) of 600 migrants, including 32 Cubans, who were trying to reach the United States by bus. The president of the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Migration, Mauro Pérez, complained about the “containment measures” used against irregular foreigners and the eviction of the 246 people at the Mexico City Bus Station.

In the vicinity of the bus terminal the Migration vans can be seen patrolling.  Inside, there are constant sweeps by the agents, which has prevented Mayelín Díaz from being able to buy a ticket to Tijuana. “She is suspicious of the airport authorities, who arrested her and handed her over to the agents be locked up,” says the lawyer.

On the other hand, after several days of pressure, a family of the group of Cubans injured in Pijijiapan, where 10 women from the Island died, managed to travel from Tapachula to Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Last Monday they boarded a flight to Guadalajara and plan to continue their journey to the United States.

Lismaidy Portal Benacho, who is a doctor, has been in charge of curing the injuries of her children Adam Jesús and Andrea, who suffered burns in the accident, after they were denied medical attention and a humanitarian visa in Tapachula. Meanwhile, her husband, Leynier Valle Machado, has already recovered from his injuries.

No one in the Tapachula hospitals wanted to take care of the children, the lawyer says. The doctors closed the doors despite the fact that Portal Benacho asked that she be permitted to attend to them herself. “Migration also pressured these people and threatened to arrest them and separate the mother from the children,” says Pérez Jiménez.

On Tuesday, another 162 migrants, including seven Cubans, were arrested by the military in the state of Veracruz. The group was traveling on a bus that was intercepted on the Coast of the Gulf of Coatzacoalcos-Villahermosa highway, near the town of Nuevo Teapa.

The group of Cubans was detained in the Acayucan immigration station. The authorities refuse to give reports to this newspaper about the reason for the arrests .

Translated by Regina Anavy


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