Los Algodones, Baja California; Mexico

This is not the End of the World, but you can see it from here!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Deported But, they Don't get to take belongings and Life with them

Derek Lucas Reyes, 20, went from being undocumented in the U.S. to undocumented in his native Mexico.
He sits at a table after breakfast in a shelter filled with people recently deported from the U.S. to Nogales, Sonora. At his feet is a paper shopping bag the Department of Homeland Security gave him for his belongings. Inside the bag: his deportation paperwork, a toothbrush, toothpaste and some other necessities he got from Mexican aid workers.
Lucas Reyes just finished serving a 30-day federal sentence for illegal crossing. When he was caught by the Border Patrol in the Arizona desert, he says, he had a backpack of essentials.
"I had an ID, money and a cellphone that I didn't get back. In that phone were phone numbers for my family who could've given me shelter. Now I have nothing — no money and no way to contact people I know," he says.
A report released Wednesday by the humanitarian group No More Deaths says it's not an unusual situation. The U.S. government is deporting thousands of people back to Mexico without their belongings, and according to the report, they're being sent back without money (they used up everything being held in Detention) or identification cards (As ID was considered Fake).
"It's every day," says David Hill, co-author of the report. It's based on more than 14,000 cases out of Arizona and echoes similar findings by University of Arizona researchers borderwide.
Roughly one-third of people deported to Mexico were missing something. Here's how it seems to happen: When people are arrested, they go from Border Patrol custody to U.S. Marshals to local jails or to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Their property stays behind.
"It doesn't get transferred to where it needs to be for the person to receive it upon deportation and it gets destroyed after 30 days — declared abandoned and destroyed," Hill says.
Under the U.S. Constitution, property should be held only if it's evidence in a crime or was actually used to commit a crime — neither of which seems to be the case here. The Department of Homeland Security oversees both ICE and Customs and Border Protection. In an email, DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron writes the agency has standards to ensure detainees' property is safeguarded and returned when they are released or deported. "Any allegation of missing property will be thoroughly investigated," the email says.
Among the most problematic charges are missing IDs and missing money. Hill says when people do get their money back, it's often in a form utterly useless in Mexico.
"We're talking about checks that are drawn on U.S. banks and cannot be deposited in Mexican banks, whether you have an account or not, whether you have an ID or not," Hill says.
Lucas Reyes has no money or ID, so he's worried about traveling 2,000 miles to his home in the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo, next to Central America.
"Mexican authorities could think I'm illegally in the country. I could be kidnapped because people might assume I'm not from Mexico," he says.
Among other recommendations, the No More Deaths report calls for DHS to work harder to keep people and their property together — and to return money in cash.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Transition Back to Mexico for Deportees to be eased.

Initiative eases transition back to Mexico for deportees

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, file)
NOGALES, Sonora, Mexico -- Deported after 25 years in the United States on domestic violence charges, Jose Castellea stepped off a bus here at the border gate eight days ago with only the clothes on his back and a few belongings.
"The first time you're scared when you're here in Mexico," Castellea said. "Now, well I have to be here the rest of my life."
Until he figured out how to get to relatives in Guadalajara, Castellea was able to find food and shelter for a week through the Kino Border Initiative operated by Roman Catholic groups.
Since 2009, the legally incorporated binational organization has provided an Aid Center for Deported Migrants serving two meals a day, a Nazareth House shelter for migrant women and children and a First Aid Station for migrants.
The Rev. Sean Carroll, a Jesuit priest who serves as executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, said many of those deported through Nogales are vulnerable and that his group offers aid, research and advocacy to create a more humane experience.
"We're moving towards a time when I think we have a border that truly is humane, where there is binational collaboration and where the humanity of the migrant man woman and child is respected," Carroll said.
A 20-minute walk from the port of entry or a brief drive for Mexican migration officials, the initiative offers each migrant help for eight days. After that, migrants generally return to their hometowns with bus tickets subsidized by the Mexican government or stay in Nogales, though some will attempt to cross the border again, Carroll said.
Sister Alicia Guevara Perez, a migrant aid coordinator, said although the inititiative helps people the work can be challenging emotionally.
"I've been here with them for a year, and I've learned to guide them, listen to their stories," Guevara Perez said. "However, I know I need to disconnect myself a little from the reality they live so I can continue helping them."
This day, Guevara Perez served as the coordinator for dinner. Throughout the meal she interacted with the migrants and offered prayers for those interested.
"Being here is a way to show them that they're not alone," she said. "We worry about their reality and their situation, and that all of us need to unite to provide them with that support."
The Rev. Peter Neeley, assistant director of education, said faith in God isn't required, though he does offer prayer and confession as a way to help the migrants.
"That's very intimate, it's therapy for them in the sense they just get rid of all that they've been carrying around," Neeley said.
The Kino Border Initiative's annual report for 2012 said it brought in $781,651 in grants and donations. Its largest expenditures were for humanitarian assistance and education: $175,689 and $105,663, respectively.
Carroll said as much as the program is for migrants it has created a strong opportunity for advocacy and education on both sides of the border.
"On the U.S. side a lot of our focus has been deportation and detention issues, and on the Mexican side it's really been robberies by police in Mexico," he said.
Last year, American University prepared a report for the Kino Border Initiative noting that Central Americans were three times more likely to fall prey to police than Mexican nationals.
Another area for advocacy, Carroll said, is nighttime deportations.
"It violates their dignity to be deported at night and put their lives at risk by putting the situation in where they''re in Nogales, Sonora, in the middle of the night with people from organized crime waiting for them," he said.
Inside the gates of the aid center, the Kino Border Initiative provides a safe place for Castellea and other migrants.
After receiving a hot meal and some clothes, Castellea took his bag and left for Guadalajara.
"I feel bad you know because the people are good here," he said. "I don't want to go, but I have to go."

North Mexican Border Areas Are Safe

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Acapulco Warning

US Embassy in Mexico Issues Security Warning for Acapulco 

 Mexico News
US Embassy in Mexico Issues Security ...
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has issued a security warning on Saturday, urging U.S. citizens to avoid Acapulco due to violence and protests. The protests have escalated in recent ..

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Brave Boy undergoes operation

Absolutely huge tumor removed from boy, 11

It took 25 medical professionals and 12 hours to remove a massive tumor from an 11-year-old Mexican boy who had traveled to the US for help. They  describes the growth on the neck, shoulder, and upper torso of Jose Antonio Ramirez Serrano's left side as football-sized: almost a foot long and 4 inches wide and deep. The operation took place Monday at the University of New Mexico Hospital and was "two years in the making," says Kristean Alcocer, a ministry coordinator for the First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho, which helped get Jose to the US. The church members came upon the boy during a missionary visit to Ciudad Juarez in 2012 and learned his parents had hit a dead end in terms of getting medical help for Jose in Mexico.
A humanitarian visa was arranged for Jose, who KOAT reported was born with a golfball-sized growth, and he arrived in New Mexico in July of that year; he's been traveling back and forth to receive treatment since. Reuters describes lymphangiomas as rare lymphatic system "malformations." Though the tumor itself is benign, Jose's parents say its size led to eyesight complications, limited his movement on the left side, and grew into his trachea, which the El Paso Times reports hampered his breathing. The church has raised funds for the treatment, and Alcocer says his medical expenses have been covered. He'll be in the hospital for at least a month; in future surgeries, his shoulder bone will be rebuilt, and excess skin will be removed.
This story originally appeared on Newser:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Travel Mistake lands Woman in Jail.

Aussie woman trapped in Mexico

Melbourne woman Kylie Bretag is trapped in a Mexican immigration detention centre.
IT’S a simple travel mistake any of us could have made, but it’s landed one Australian woman in a Mexican detention centre with no idea when she will be released.
Kylie Bretag, a 30-year-old waitress from Melbourne, was arrested on October 20 at a checkpoint in the town of Tenosique after Mexican officials boarded her bus to check passengers’ passports, according to her friend Natalie Wayt.
Ms Wayt, 27, was due to meet Ms Bretag in Cancun but was forced to return to Houston after finding out her friend had been detained. It’s understood Australian consular officials are working with Mexican authorities to resolve the issue.
The nightmare began when Ms Bretag followed advice posted on TripAdvisor which said it was cheaper to cross the border into Mexico from California and take a domestic flight from Tijuana to Guadalajara, rather than fly directly in, Ms Wayt told news.com.au from the US.
Kylie Bretag was travelling in Mexico to celebrate her 30th birthday. Source: Supplied
However, Ms Wayt said border officials failed to stamp her friend’s passport when she crossed over from California, despite being asked to do so. Without a stamp in her passport, the Federales who later boarded her bus claimed she was in the country illegally.
Ms Bretag, who recently completed a degree in public relations, was taken to an immigration detention facility where she now sleeps in a crammed cell, head-to-toe with other women and children and no access to proper bathroom or shower facilities.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wildlife Center Owner (an American) in Mexico Killed by Camel

 A 60-year-old American was killed by a camel which escaped from its pen and attacked him at a wildlife center he owned in the Mexican beach resort of Tulum, local emergency services said on Tuesday.

Richard Mileski, who was from the Chicago area, was found dead early on Monday, said Antonio Gomez, a Tulum emergency services spokesman.

"When we arrived, the people who were there said (the camel) got out of its stable and attacked him," said Gomez. "It dragged him, climbed on top of him, was kicking him, biting him and sat on top of him."

Gomez said the dromedary, which is a type of camel predominantly from the Middle East and North Africa, was then taken away by Mexico's federal agency of environmental protection Profepa. He also said the emergency services then closed the park.

Mileski was the owner of the Tulum Monkey Sanctuary where the attack took place, Gomez added. The park's website was down on Tuesday and telephone calls went unanswered.

Tulum, which is near the Caribbean beach resorts of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, is the site of one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, and is popular with tourists.