Olman said he has been detained more than 20 times.
Olman Paz, a Honduran national that migrated to Tijuana two years ago with hopes to reach the American Dream, has been harassed, beaten, and threatened with deportation by the police, despite them having no jurisdiction to do it. This type of practice became common under the administration of the former mayor of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastelum.
The dental bridge
Olman said that since his arrival in Playas de Tijuana he has been detained more than 20 times by the police. The last time it happened he was sweeping the sidewalk in front of the seafood restaurant where he works. The police officer hit him, detained him, and broke his dental bridge of four teeth.
He was the last detention that the police pick-up patrol did before packing up. According to Hugo Castro, Border Angels founder, the Tijuana police Department has a daily amount of detentions they must do to cover a sort of efficiency standard that allows them to keep obtaining international and federal aid in security affairs. Therefore, it is not surprising that they invented a felony for him. “They took me (to the police station) and said that I was stealing a car. That was a lie,” Olman said.
When the judge noticed Olman's injuries he just let him go. He is still in need of medical attention as he's just taking painkillers to treat himself. "I can’t eat now and sometimes can’t sleep because of the pain," he noted. “They even call the Mexican immigration on me. They kept me locked up for five days in the migration building even though I have refugee condition.”
"They kept me locked up for five days in the migration building."
This low-intensity migrant persecution by Tijuana’s police officers according to Olman includes “sowing” drugs on suspects to keep them locked up for long periods of time or stealing money or cellphones from them.
Mr. Miguel, another Honduran migrant that just arrived at the Embajada Migrante, the shelter where Olman lives, experienced a kidnapping perpetrated by municipal police in Veracruz during his journey to Tijuana. “They asked us for 32 thousand pesos or said they would kill us, and officers from the General Prosecutors Officers blackmailed us with a bribe to let us continue,” Mr. Miguel stated.
Last month pro-migrant activists helped to accomplish the ruling of a federal judge to declare “poli-migra” unconstitutional. At a press conference, Gina Garibo from the American Friends Service Community said that it does not matter where a person is from, police have no right to detain and ask for migration papers from anyone.
According to the National Migration Institute, there are approximately ten thousand foreigner migrants settled in Tijuana waiting to get refugee status in the United States.