Migrant Workers Claim Extortion from IMN Agents
By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
As the Easter Week holiday approaches — a key period in the Mexican religious calendar and a time when many migrants return home temporarily to be with their families — numerous Mexican workers reentering the country have reported being extorted by agents of the National Institute of Migration (INM) near the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
According to a report published in the daily newspaper Reforma on Sunday, March 27, INE agents demanded $400 per person from at least 50 Mexicans who were returning on a bus from Minnesota.
The migrants denounced the extortion to Rogelio Ávila, president of the Association of Mexican Migrants in Chicago.
Even the migrants who said they did not enough money to pay the bribe said that they had endured body searches from the officers and even had their shoes removed in search of dollars, according to audio testimonies shared by Ávila.
The member of the National Council of Legislators and Migrants (Conalym) said that the massive extortion took place at about 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, at the migratory checkpoint at Kilometer 26 of the Nuevo Laredo-Monterrey Highway.
Although leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) constantly praises undocumented Mexicans residing in the United States for their remittances back home — which, at nearly $50 billion a year, represent more foreign revenues for the country than crude oil exports — the Conalym said that “bad practices persist” in the treatment of these migrants.
The INM said early Monday, March 28, that it is investigating the complaint.
The activist presented audios of testimonies from affected migrants, in which they complain about a worsening in the collection of bribes, which, they say, were previously $50 per person and are now $400 per person.