Another danger: Supposedly Christian organizations are going into the camps to recruit drug traffickers, use little kids for child pornography, and force women into sex trafficking. And Mexican lawyers promise passage into the US for cash. Scams!
The scammers see people like me as obstacles to these schemes. They left a headless rooster on my doorstep as a warning. But I promise you, I’m going to find out who they are and I’m going to burn their asses!
To enter the US, there’s a process called “metering.” What’s that?
Eichler: This practice started under Obama with Haitian migrants. They came in too great a number to process quickly, and only a limited few could cross in per day. Immigration officials on the Mexican side would give out little pieces of paper, like the “take a number” when you’re waiting in line at a store. The wait could be months.
Calderon-Vargas: Black migrants didn’t even get on these lists! They live in a racist hell. They’ve been attacked with machetes, guns, and sticks by Central American migrants. Their tents have been set on fire.
We’ve been talking about the Northern border. What about the Southern border?
Eichler: People cross into México at Tapachula in Chiapas. Migrants call this place “Atrapachula” because thousands get detained there and deported, actions funded by the US government. To stop people from riding the rails, trains now travel at higher speeds, and concrete posts have been put up that knock riders off who are trying to hang on.
Calderon-Vargas: We know of cases where indigenous Mexicans get deported because they only speak Mayan and have no ID. They’re asked to sing the Mexican national anthem as proof they live in México, but who knows that! Even mentally ill US veterans have been deported. I reached out to the US expat community to see if they want to help, but they seem more interested in the arts.
The US and México are violating the human rights of asylum seekers “guaranteed” by international law. As lawyers, what do you think can be done?
Calderon-Vargas: At this point, we lawyers in México are not looking to get justice for anyone. That’s impossible, like putting a band-aid on cancer. We just document the facts and hope this might help people later.
We need a high-level international meeting called. Each country’s immigration laws should be looked at and then harmonized, based on the Vienna conventions on human rights.
Seeing people in migrant situations every day and hearing their stories can wear down your spirit — but you also feel compelled to work even harder.