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Death on the Border
LEY GENERAL DE POBLACIÓN - Artículo 11: El tránsito internacional de personas por puertos, aeropuertos y fronteras, sólo podrá efectuarse por los lugares designados para ello y dentro del horario establecido, con la intervención de las autoridades migratorias.
Artículo 78: Las personas que pretendan emigrar del país, están obligadas a satisfacer, además de los requisitos generales de migración, los siguientes:
III. La comprobación, si se trata de mexicanos, de que pueden cumplir todos los requisitos que para entrar al país a donde se dirijan exijan las leyes del mismo, según el carácter con que pretendan hacerlo
MEXICAN GENERAL POPULATION LAW - Article 11 - The international movement of persons through ports, airports and borders can only be carried out in locations so designated and on the established schedule, with the participation of immigration authorities.
Article 78: - Those persons who intend to emigrate from the country are obligated to satisfy, in addition to the general requirements of immigration, the following:
III. Evidence, if they are Mexican citizens, that they can meet all the legal requirements to enter the country of their intended destination according to their intended immigration status.
Mexico's law on movement of people across its borders is very clear. A person may only enter or exit via a designated port of entry and this must be done in compliance with Mexican immigration authorities. A Mexican must also meet all the immigration requirements of the destination country in order to legally leave Mexico. Yet each year, the United States deports several hundred thousand illegal immigrants back to their native Mexico, and not one of them is ever charged with violating Mexico's law by failing to depart Mexico via a port of entry and with the necessary visas.
On June 21, 2011, a rock throwing incident on the San Diego-Tijuana border ended with a Border Patrol agent shooting to death 40-year-old Jose Alfredo Yañez Reyes. Before he was killed, Yañez allegedly flung rocks and a nail-studded board that struck one agent, who required hospitalization.
The Mexican newspapers reported that three Mexicans were involved in the incident. One was arrested by Border Patrol agents, one managed to return to Mexico "safe and sound," as reported in the Tijuana newspapers, and Yañez was shot in the left eye while atop the steel border fence with a chunk of concrete in his hand.
Why wasn't the man who returned to Mexico "safe and sound" arrested by Mexican police for violation of Articles 11 and 78? Why are the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans deported back to Mexico each year not charged?
The answer lies in the differences between how Americans and Mexicans view immigration and laws.
Americans mainly view immigration as a legal issue: either one has permission to enter the United States, or one does not. There is no middle ground. However, Mexicans tend to view immigration as a human rights issue. They believe humans have the right to go where the work is, where the money is, where the social benefits are.
As to laws, most Americans view things in black or white: either it is legal or it is illegal. In Mexico, laws are viewed more as idealized guidelines for behavior. Moreover, in Mexico laws are profit centers for corrupt police, bureaucrats and politicians. Problems with the law are fixed with bribes - morditas. The more laws Mexico passes, the more profit centers are created for those who enforce those laws.
Back to Jose Alfredo Yañez Reyes, the father of three whose wife lives in Ensenada. His wife told the newspapers that he was a construction worker who spent two weeks each month working in Tijuana. However the Tijuana newspapers did their own investigation, talking to Yañez' parents. They reported that Yañez was a shiftless drug addict, who occasional helped to strip stolen cars. He walked out on his wife and children and was living in Tijuana with an 18-year old woman who was 5 months pregnant with his child.
As is the norm in these situations, Mexican politicians are clamoring for an investigation into the shooting of Yañez. One bureaucrat is even calling for the extradition to Mexico of the Border Patrol agent who shot Yañez to stand trial for murder. However, as is typical with Mexican politicians where pandering to the electorate is an art form, they have few facts.
The fence that Yañez was on is entirely within the territory of the United States. The US built it a few feet inside the border. You don't really think that Mexico would erect a fence to prevent its population from emmigrating illegally to the United States? So, Yañez was entirely within United States territory when he threw sticks and rocks at Border Patrol agents. He was shot while in US territory. He just happened to drop dead inside Mexico.