14ymedio, Havana, 16 October 2023 — The Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) is misinforming Cubans who go to the headquarters located in the Tláhuac shelter, in Mexico City. The authorities “assure that no permit is needed” to prevent migrants from being detained and deported, a Cuban woman tells 14ymedio. In case the police stop her, just stating that “she is waiting for the CBP One appointment” will be enough to avoid arrest, COMAR officials told her.
This woman, who came to process a safe-conduct pass, was assured that she “could even stay in Mexico City,” as long as she did not move to any other state. In addition, they warned her that if she requests asylum, they will deny her the CBP One appointment.
There are already many Cubans and Venezuelans in Mexico City, mainly in neighborhoods where rent is lower and there aren’t as many requirements to rent. “They are seen a lot in the stores of neighborhoods and in the supermarkets such as Bodega Aurrera and Soriana, buying food,” says a resident of the Mexican capital.
Yunior, a 25-year-old habanero who arrived in Mexico City just a week ago from Tapachula, tells this newspaper that, although his goal is to continue to the U.S. through CBP One, an appointment for which he signed up along with 10 other Cubans, he intends to find a job in the city and raise all the money he can. The young man was part of the thousands of migrants who were waiting in Tapachula for an appointment to apply for asylum with the U.S. authorities and had to move to the Mexican capital after the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador reported that no more flight permits were going to be processed for foreigners admitted to CBP One in that city, and that this procedure should be done in Mexico City.
At the moment, Yunior, although he is living with three other compatriots in a small room, wants to find cheaper rent and is constantly checking Marketplace, on Facebook, where rentals are published.
But not everyone has had the same luck as the habanero, who was able to avoid the Migration checkpoints and reach Mexico City. Reinier Martínez, one of the 138 Cubans deported by Mexico on a flight last Saturday, denounced the irregularities committed daily by immigration agents and the Government.
Reinier Martínez, one of the 138 Cubans deported by Mexico on a flight last Saturday, denounced the irregularities committed daily by immigration agents and the Government
“You have to sign to be able to leave,” an agent at the Siglo XXI Migration Station told him. Without knowing what it was about, the man reported in a live broadcast through Facebook from Havana, that they took his fingerprints and passed several papers to him. “Some I didn’t sign because I didn’t understand what they were about,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if you have the COMAR (procedure before the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid) or papers. I was deported,” said this Cuban in a video he recorded from terminal 3 of Havana’s José Martí International Airport. “This is a testimony that I hope will serve those who have relatives in Mexico. Take care, don’t believe everything the Mexican authorities tell you.”
Mexico has justified the deportations of nationals of the Island and calls them “assisted returns,” activist and migrant defender José Luis Pérez Jiménez tells 14ymedio. Martínez was illegally detained. He was not found with “false documentation,” nor did he have an order to leave the country, which are cause for arrest.
Martínez was arrested three days before the deportation. The taxi in which he was traveling from Puerto Madero to Tapachula was intercepted by Migration agents, who locked him in a room with at least 60 other Cubans, in addition to some women with small children. Among this group were those who had been approved for the CBP One appointment, others with a humanitarian visa and others with the safe-conduct. “We ate at the time they wanted, and we only saw the sun when we went out for breakfast,” he says.
In three days of captivity, Martínez was bombarded with the promise of the delivery of a safe-conduct. Alleged lawyers told him that they needed his authorization to represent him
This Cuban evidenced the excesses of the agents and the violation of the human rights of migrants. According to the Migration Law, minors must be transferred to children’s rooms; it is forbidden to keep them in immigration stations.
In three days of captivity, Martínez was bombarded with the promise of the delivery of a safe-conduct. Alleged lawyers told him that they needed his authorization to represent him. The same speech was received by the rest of the Cubans who, in the hope of being free, signed several documents.
Hours later, the agents said they would give them a transit permit to get to the U.S. border, but in reality they were preparing them for deportation. “They handed us over to people armed with pistols and machine guns, who were hooded, with bulletproof vests and pistols,” Martínez said, and warned us that “if we didn’t hurry, it would be worse.”
They tied their hands with cable ties and taped their mouths. These hooded men were the ones who took them to Tapachula airport to board the flight to Cuba.
Carlos Álvarez, a habanero who processed the request for refuge with COMAR, tells 14ymedio that he was imprisoned for 20 days at the Siglo XXI Migration Station. “All day there was the noise of people working. We, seven Cubans and about 45 Venezuelans, Haitians and Hondurans were held in rooms.”
Álvarez says that “the place is like a prison. You sleep on the floor, without a bed, and I won’t even talk about the food.” They were taken out on September 26 because “there was an important visit,” he explains. That day, the commissioner of the National Institute of Migration (INM), Francisco Garduño Yáñez, supervised the remodeling of the station.
Activist José Luis Pérez Jiménez said that COMAR in Tapachula “is not attending the eligibility interviews” nor hearing “the migrants’ requests for refuge”
Activist José Luis Pérez Jiménez, denounced that COMAR in Tapachula “is not attending the eligibility interviews” nor hearing “the migrants’ requests for refuge.” People have begun to process amparos, protection orders, to prevent deportation.
The lawyer warned that with COMAR being overtaken by the migratory flow, the procedure has been extended to six months.
Carlos Álvarez was given a sheet with a number and told that he had to wait for an email to be sent to him. The procedure would supposedly not take more than 20 days, but there are people who have been waiting for more than a month and still don’t have a resolution.
“When I came, they said that this is for shelter and that those who wanted to continue to the U.S. should go to Migration. Days later they told the Cubans that they could continue without any problem, and that those with CBP One could travel freely. But it’s a lie; they are stopping them when they leave on the bus,” says Álvarez.
Pérez Jiménez says that the immigration authorities are misinforming migrants. Alonso, a Cuban who is in Mexico City, confirms to this newspaper the deception of the authorities. “They assure us that those who are with CBP One do not need to do anything else, that they are not going to stop us or deport us.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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