Sr. Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obredor, Presidente de la República de Mexico
Sra. Ministra Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretaria de Gobernación de Mexico
August 15, 2019
Dear President López Obredor and Secretary Sánchez Cordero:
We are deeply concerned about Mexican authorities’ harassment and intimidation of personnel working at the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo (Saltillo Migrant House)in Saltillo, Coahuila State.
On July 20, at around 1:00 PM, five Federal Police officers, in official vans, tried to forcibly enter the shelter to conduct an immigration check. This is a violation of Mexican law which prohibits immigration authorities and security forces from entering migrant shelters. According to federal law, the Citizen’s Council of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) is the only authority able to carry out the verification of someone’s migration status. When José Luis Manzo, a shelter worker, refused to allow Federal Police to enter Casa del Migrante, they threatened him, telling him he was “getting into a problem.”
On July 23, National Guard and municipal police of Saltillo tried to carry out an immigration check. Staff of the shelter reiterated that such a check was illegal. In response, National Guard and police officers photographed and videoed the Saltillo Migrant House staff members.
Since 2002, Casa del Migrante de Saltillo has been providing medical and psychological services to migrants, as well as legal advice on migration and deportation procedures. The shelter also documents and denounces human rights violations suffered by migrants during their journey. (Saltillo, the capital city of Coahuila, is located 300km south of the Nuevo Laredo/Laredo international border.)
Since 2010, those working at the shelter have had precautionary orders from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. They also have protection measures from the Mexican government’s protection mechanism. On July 25, 2019 Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued further precautionary measures for the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo and for the shelter Exodus Migrant Assistance Center, located in Agua Prieta, Sonora State. These measures recognize the important work of these shelters and function as a denouncement of the harassment and threats made by the Federal Police against shelter personnel.
Because of our concern about the efforts of police and military forces to enter migrant shelters throughout the country, we strongly urge that you
- fully investigate and sanction the officials involved in intimidating, threatening, and harassing the staff at Casa del Migrante de Saltillo and at other shelters
- fully and effectively carry out all protection measures granted to staff of Casa del Migrante de Saltillo and staff of other shelters in the country
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
Christine Stonebraker Martínez
Martha Bárcena Coqui, Mexican Ambassador to the US ~ via email
John S. Creamer, Chargé d’Affairs, US Embassy in Mexico ~ via fax and US mail
Political Officer, Mexico Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur for Mexico, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Juan José Zepeda Bermúdez, President of CEDH in Mexico City (Centro de Estudios en Derechos Humanos) ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email