Mexico’s supreme court rules the process of hunting down migrants in the country is unconstitutional

The reviews carried out by the National Migration Institute ( INM ) at points other than international transit posts are unconstitutional, ruled the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation ( SCJN ) of Mexico.

In a statement issued this Thursday, the Supreme Court of Mexico said that the immigration review procedure, provided for in the Law on the matter, “is unconstitutional because it is contrary to the rights of free movement and transit within the national territory, as well as the of equality and non-discrimination .”

In Mexico, immigration officials have patrolled highways, randomly stopping cars and buses to demand identification from all passengers without cause, infringing on the right of all people in Mexico to transit freely through the country, and profiling individuals based on the color of their skin is common, leading to discriminatory practices.

The SCJN case began from a matter in which three Mexicans belonging to an indigenous community in the state of Chiapas, including an adolescent woman, filed an Amparo suit, against migration laws in the country.

The three citizens, from the Tzeltal community of Ocosingo, Chiapas, were detained by immigration agents in San Juan del Río, state of Querétaro, in September 2015 when they were traveling on a passenger bus to the city of Guaymas, Sonora, where they would go to work in the fields.

INM agents detained them on the grounds that they were originally from Guatemala and then sent them to immigration facilities, where they were held for a few weeks until they proved their identity with official documents such as copies of their birth certificates. and the unique population registration key (CURP).

In the ruling, the Court declared the unconstitutionality of articles 97 and 98 of the Migration Law, which provides for the immigration review procedure, warning that, “given the generality and breadth with which it is regulated, article 11 of the Mexican Constitution, in which the right to free movement and transit is recognized… Any person who is at an immigration checkpoint anywhere within the national territory can be reviewed, regardless of whether they are a Mexican or foreign person, despite the fact that, of the aforementioned, the constitutional article does not infer at any time the duty to carry identification documents within the country.”

The SCJN also considered that, given the lack of objective parameters to carry out the reviews, “it is possible for the immigration authorities to carry out these reviews randomly based on aspects such as ethnic origin, skin color, and language, which operates to the detriment of the aforementioned sectors.

However, the First Chamber recognized the constitutionality of the power of the immigration authority to request documents from foreigners in order to prove their legal entry, stay, and departure from the country.

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