Arbitrary Detention of Mexican Citizens by Mexican Immigration Authorities
On 3 September 2015, Mexican immigration authorities detained four Indigenous Tzeltal Mexicans who were travelling by bus to the northern state of Sonora. Despite identifying themselves as Mexican citizens, the authorities considered their documents false, and they were detained for nine days until their identities were certified. The Mexican State took four years to acknowledge publicly and apologise for this arbitrary detention. Similarly, in 2017, a 39‑year‑old man born in Oaxaca, living in the streets of Puebla after being deported by the United States Government, was detained for being ‘identified’ as a Salvadorian citizen by Mexican authorities. However, it would be a mistake to consider these cases an exception or anomaly in the Mexican Transit Control Regime. Drawing on statistical and archival information from 2010 to 2020, as well as semi-structured interviews conducted in 2021, in this article, we examine the arbitrary detention of Mexican citizens by Mexican immigration authorities. We highlight the multiple rights violated, question how these detentions have been framed in the official discourse and examine the outcome of these detentions. Our analysis sheds light on the racialisation of migration control in Mexico.
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