Im­mi­grants de­tained in Ok­la­homa claim they were tricked into sign­ing vol­un­tary de­por­ta­tions

La Semana - - REGIONAL -

Tulsa, OK - La Se­m­ana had the op­por­tu­nity to con­duct an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with José Villa, the Mex­i­can con­sular of­fi­cial in charge of visas and fol­low-up of cases of in­mates in the pris­ons of the state of Ok­la­homa.

Villa said the con­sulate has found cases of ha­rass­ment by im­mi­gra­tion agents when a new His­panic pris­oner is de­tained, and that the agents pres­sure Mex­i­can na­tion­als to sign their vol­un­tary de­par­ture or de­por­ta­tion pa­pers. Villa said some agents have re­port­edly said to the pris­on­ers, “Sign this doc­u­ment – it is only the rules of the prison.”

“In gen­eral is­sues that have noth­ing to do with im­mi­gra­tion, the ex of­fi­cio lawyers who are the ones as­signed by the state re­sort to this method, telling them to sign and that their sen­tence could be less than if they fought for their case, and thus they end up sign­ing and it is con­tra­dic­tory,” Villa con­tin­ued. “In con­clu­sion, if you do not un­der­stand what the doc­u­ment says, do not sign any­thing un­til you are with your lawyer. There are cases of pris­on­ers suf­fer­ing from dis­eases such as men­tal gaps, for ex­am­ple, that of a per­son from Tabasco, Mex­ico. We were fi­nally able to find his rel­a­tives af­ter more than two years, and they did not know any­thing about each other. I per­son­ally trav­eled to Tabasco to look for these rel­a­tives and cor­rob­o­rate the in­for­ma­tion that said per­son gave me un­til fi­nally we could ver­ify that it was about the same per­son.”

“In this and many more cases like this we have man­aged to pro­vide sup­port to our fel­low cit­i­zens for free,” those in charge of the De­part­ment of Pro­tec­tion and Le­gal Af­fairs of the Mex­i­can con­sulate in Lit­tle Rock, Ar­kan­sas af­firmed. (La Se­m­ana)

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