MEXICO.- If it were up to him, Luis Manuel Hernández would have paid what “the mafias” ask of him in order to make an appointment at the Mexican consulate in Indianapolis plus the cost of the passport you want to get there. But $ 300 is hard because he’s sick with both kidneys and has to go on dialysis three times a week.
From the restaurant where he works in the hamburger line, he narrates his cross in a telephone interview with this newspaper: “I better hold on to it.”
You know you may have problems because all your documents are out of date But he cannot make a phone appointment, either by phone or online, without the help of managers or “coyotes”, as he calls them.
So he feels like a double “without papers” because he does not even have those from Mexico and that could complicate the medical insurance that he has contracted.
His ailments – which include hypertension and diabetes, two evils that rage against Mexicans – are not the only reason why he refuses to give the money, it is also for consistency: he does not want to be part of a system of corruption that, according to Observe, he also jumped the border but with a diplomatic face.
In the last few months, complaints and dismissals for dating trafficking exploded in some Mexican consulates of the American Union. The Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) has recognized two: the one located in Fresno, California and the one in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jaime Vázquez, general director of Consular services, said in an interview with this medium that both cases “are isolated” and that they have not had a report from any other.
Whether due to ignorance, fear or because the possible complainants have no evidence, the fact is that the SRE has not had reports of other influence trafficking, despite the fact that it opened the complaint mail to the public two months ago. firstname.lastname@example.org
In Fresno the illegal dating scheme was between a professional service provider independent of the consulate and a guard; in Las Vegas, it was through managers and the authorities were notified and those involved were disqualified.
But beyond official recognition, there are testimonies of hundreds of cases of presumed profit with the need for appointments that migrants have to have a Mexican ID in Atlanta, Raleigh, Orlando and Indianapolis.
It is not a recent issue. Luis Manuel Hernández has suffered from it since 2016. Since then he has gone four times to the Indianapolis consulate in vain (there is no diplomatic headquarters in Columbus). They have rejected it because “there is no” space, he concludes: as if the representation of Mexico were a soccer field or a concert for the highest bidder.
“Everyone who has paid the coyotes has gotten a date and this means that they are in complicity with people within the consulate, they are known to give them their moche: that is why there are no appointments if you do it on your own ”.
In Columbus they even organize “tours” to Indianapolis. This includes the appointment, meeting the interested party at his home, taking him to the consulate and returning him with his documents for $ 155, plus the cost of the procedure. “What a coincidence that when you go with them they do receive you”, satirizes Hernández from the hospital where the insurer sent him.
Luis Manuel Hernández has been lucky that until now the medical insurance accepts his IDs even if they are expired, but there is no guarantee in the future. From one moment to another they may ask you for a valid ID to renew it and you will not have it. Even so, he decided to wait because his economy is not good and he does not have a wife or children. It will give time to time.
From time to time he calls the coyotes to see how the prices are but they haven’t dropped a penny. There is supply and demand that multiplied as a result of the pandemic because, under the pretext of Covid-19, the Mexican consulates reduced the attention to migrants in the United States and this became an opportunity for managers.
The advice given by the Mexican government in the voice of Jaime Vázquez is one: “Do not resort to external managers to avoid dating traffic” while the Foreign Ministry attacks the problem.
It says that actions to combat this type of corruption include blocking emails associated with managers who sell appointments at Mexican consulates in addition to canceling appointments suspected of having been managed through coyotes.
Meanwhile, the migrants are in a dilemma. Either they renounce to obtain or renew their documents in some diplomatic headquarters due to the impossibility of having an appointment through the normal, free route, as the Mexican government promises (as Luis Manuel Hernández did) or they resolve as they can.
Hugo Gallegos, 37, got tired of calling Mexitel, the official attention service to make an appointment at the Mexican consulates. They never answered him. Telephone neglect is a constant nonconformity. There are thousands of complainants who manifest themselves on social networks and in direct testimonies to the media, to civil and human rights organizations.
Gallegos had recently operated on his tendons but needed to renew his consular registration. After insisting unsuccessfully on the Mexitel phone line, he went to line up at the Orlando consulate four times. The first, at 3:00 in the morning and he was number one in line where he waited several hours until they opened. Behind him were 40 cars and each one was told: “Sorry, there are no appointments. But sign up in this notebook ”.
The following occasions, he saw people from Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami and Talahasee parading who came by appointment, weren’t there any appointments? He asked. Someone told him that they were dating managers and that it was easier that way.
“It is an open secret that appointments for consular procedures are given to you immediately if you pay outside,” says Matilde Herrera, who prefers to remain anonymous with another name for fear of reprisals: a few days ago she managed to get a manager to give her an Appointment to the Orlando consulate, even though she’s in Atlanta.
“Atlanta has already been saturated,” he warns.
“I do not understand why it was saturated if I have been trying to make an appointment by phone and online for months, but their answer is that they do not have available, by phone they tell me to keep calling after noon to see if they open appointments and so I do and nothing, plus check the website to see if they have appointments available and it’s the same. I can fill out some questions online but then he won’t let me continue ”.
That is why he looked for three coyotes and thus achieved his appointment in Florida with the agency “Registros Solutions” that does not charge until the interested party has the papers in hand.
Jaime Vázquez asked Mexicans in the United States to be patient. He says that the Mexitel line does work, that there are appointments, and the proof of this is that they attend between 30,000 and 70,000 calls a day (according to their own data) and that none of the operators can manipulate the appointments. “There are only schedules that are saturated.”
Enrique Esparza, an activist based in Sacramento assures that in many consulates like the one in his city, they make an effort to meet the demands of migrants, but the number is such that it is often impossible. “The demand for countrymen far exceeds the number of consulates,” he observes.
Since 2019, the austerity measures proposed by the federal government and the new foreign policy guidelines have forced Mexican diplomacy to make adjustments in expenditures and to this was added the loss of 473 independent workers due to the change of visas to work.
However, two years later, according to current testimonies, the alleged dating traffic depends on each consulate: those that work best are the largest, which are also monitored by the SRE, as reported by the SRE at a press conference. .
Irene Osorio says from New York that her experience is positive and that only two weeks have passed since she requested the procedure to have her consular registration in hand. From Chicago, Juan Matus, an activist in Chicago, agrees that so far he has not had any complaints about it. “We would have found out.”
In Atlanta, on the other hand, the complaints are recurrent and similar: they have to pay or there is no passport, no consular registration or powers of attorney. They are told that there are none, that the machines are useless, that they make an urgent but notarized appointment, as happened to Carina Rivera, who says that she has been trying to make an appointment for her son for more than a year and could only do it that way.
“The notarized letter was taken from him because he was arranging for DACA and had to have his passport valid and then at the consulate they charged us double what the passport is worth.”
The lack of identification documents has made life difficult for some. In Raleigh, María López told local television in August that a nephew died and they had no identification because they were not given appointments and it took the family two months to locate him in a morgue. “They didn’t want to give it to us.”
In another example, Guadalupe Vázquez, who traveled from Charlotte to power of attorney four times, was unable to get her finances in order in either Mexico or the United States.
Without mentioning names or places, another way of denouncing the “coyotaje” of the appointments has been the federal deputy for the CDMX, Manuel Alejandro Robles Gómez, the parliamentary group of Morena and not only in the United States but in Canada and regretted that ” the migrant community has been affected ”.
To open a bank account in Nashville, Isydro Ramírez needed two IDs. Thus he realized that the Credential to Vote with Photography from Mexico would not be enough in the United States and he thought about having the passport of his country to which he had not returned since he left Michoacán more than a decade ago.
It was in June 2014. At that time, a mobile consulate passed by where the Michoacan went along with two cousins and their father to obtain the consular registration and passport. With both documents he was able to solve a lot of things. He opened the bank account, bought a car and every time he went to the remittance branch in Mexico, he could send the money without problem.
The problem came five years later, when he wanted to renew it. When he entered his passport number into the online dating system, he rejected it as non-existent. The same thing happened with one of his cousins and his uncle.
The family then traveled to Atlanta. The same thing happened to them there. Only one of the four passports officially appeared in the registry database of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“His passports are not valid, he has no registration,” confirmed the person who attended them.
Right there they were asked to bring other documents to verify their identity and finally they were given the renewal.
“The least thing is to think that they charged us and did not put the information into the system to keep the money, but what will happen if they misused them?”, Warns Isydro. “We know of the case of a migrant who was going to fly from Tennessee to another city in the United States and when they entered his data and it did not appear, they deported him.”
According to information leaked to the Reform Agency, Between May and June, the SRE registered two thefts of type G sheets to make passports and official stationery that were destined for the Mexican consulates in New York, United States, and Guangzhou, China.
The Attorney General of the Republic detailed that the theft occurred at customs in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, right in the same area where Isydro Ramírez reported the non-registration of his family’s documents.
The general director of Consular Services, Jaime Vázquez, affirms that there are no reports similar to the Ramírez case, but they are willing to review what happened. “The Foreign Ministry takes this type of case very seriously, we know it is very delicate.”
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