An in-depth investigation finds that thousands of Latin Americans are being rejected from Mexico each year.
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The investigation, conducted by the national media outlet, Animal Politico, indicates that last year, more than 10,000 people were denied entry into Mexico after flying into the Mexico City airport. That number is up by some 2,283 percent from 2010 when there were 400 such cases
The main reason for preventing Latin Americans into Mexico has nothing to do with visitors’ documents, but to what Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) calls, "inconsistency in filter interviews," which has only been taken into consideration since 2013.
According to INM data, between January 2010 and May 2018, 40,464 citizens from Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Venezuela were prevented from entering. Since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, the number of citizens rejected from these countries has increased fivefold.
Daniela Gutierrez, a lawyer at the Mexican Center for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), confirms that Mexico is using discriminatory policy that refuses certain nationalities from entering the country. "Although people meet the entry requirements, if they are from a certain country they are very likely" to be denied entry into Mexico even when they have roundtrip airline tickets paid for, as well as hotel reservations within the country.
The main reason for the uptick in denying entry at a Mexican airport — supposed "inconsistencies" in questions posed to tourists by INM agents as they try to enter the country. The new set of questions was implemented in 2013 and critics say what are considered correct responses are up to the personal discretional of each immigration officer.
In one particular instance, the Lazo family was traveling from their home country of Peru to Cancun. They planned to stay four days: two in the capital and two more in Cancun. However, after they flew into the Mexico City airport they were detained there by immigration authorities, interrogated, and within two hours were flown back to Lima with 16 other Peruvians.
The Lazo’s had presented their four-day itinerary to INM agents in the Mexico City airport but were told, "You do not meet the profile of tourists." The agent told the family they were being sent back to Peru because each member gave different answers as to where they were staying for their two nights in Mexico City, Micaela Lazo told Animal Politico. Lazo said she told the agent they simply hadn’t decided on a hotel yet.
"I showed them the plane tickets, the hotel reservations (in Cancun) and they did not care. They did not call to see if there was a reservation. My family and I have stable jobs, own a house, a car. We just wanted to get to know Mexico. They did not let us," said mom Micaela.
Mrs. Lazo said she lost the entire US$4,000 she had invested in her family’s vacation and was "treated like a criminal."
Colombians and Venezuelans are the most rejected from Mexico.
In the last eight years, 16,306 Colombians have been refused entry into Mexican airports – that’s 40 percent of all Latin American countries combined. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of Venezuelans rejected entry at a Mexican airport went from 1,101 to 2,788.
Last year alone, 4,767 Peruvians were denied entry into Mexico at the country’s several international airports. As well, 4,620 Cubans and 4,209 Guatemalans were denied the right of entry after they had already arrived.
Another 1,180 Argentines who were denied entry to the country; 1,163 Hondurans, and 1,063 Ecuadorean citizens.