10 Tactics in Tijuana

As part of the events organised by Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights on the week dedicated to
Human Rights and Migration in the Mexican Northen city of Tijuana. REDDES was invited to participate as a
speaker in two conferences: “Tools to combat Human Right Abuse of Migrants”  and “New Generations' role in Migration and Human Rights”.

After the conferences, 10 Tactics was screened on the 18th May to an audience of over 100 advocates and college students. About 500,000 Mexicans migrate to the US every year; Mexico has one the world's largest rates of migration. Large migrant reception states like California continue to be populated by migrants in high rates. While 45% of migrants to the border city of San Diego are legal citizens, a third are illegal migrants, most of them Mexican citizens.

The journey for migrants is full of obstacles and abuse. “10 Tactics is something that has to be seen by migration and human right advocates” said a representative from Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights.

During the initial conference in Tijuana, the Public Policy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) NGO based in San Diego, California, Andrea Guerrero, explained that recent studies show a high increase of post-traumatic-stress disorders in migrants that arrive to the US. She also noted that in the United States border zone (up to 100 miles away from the border) it is legal to stop and search any person based on suspicion. Racial profiling
and screening in the border zone is done legally by police officers and border patrols in all border American states, not only in Arizona where a new immigration laws have been signed to overpass basic constitutional rights for people living in U.S territory.

US border patrols (over 21,000 officers are enrolled in the US Southern border) and some citizen groups are known to systematically abuse illegal migrants of hispanic ethnicity. Border NGOs have great challenges in trying to influence border policies, educate border populations on human rights and assist migrants in their journey. ACLU, for instance, does research on human rights abuses in the US so that police, border patrol officers and anti-immigrant groups can be held responsible and tighter control be given over their operations. They also hand-out education flyers so that people and migrants are aware of the rights they have. Nonetheless, NGOs in the American side are in great need of victim's testimonies, witness declarations and other evidence that can serve as proof for many of the abuse that occurs in the border zone.

While talking about info-activism, ACLU noted that the Immigrant Rights Consortium of San Diego's website
with information in many languages for migrants had been successfully launched and in a just few months it had
become one of the main resource for information to migrants and migrant right advocate.  Nonetheless, she felt the site's full potential had not been achieved yet. ACLU is currently engaging with Mexican NGOs and advocates so that
they can use the website and the internet more generally to document, distribute and share information on key migration and human rights topics.

Advocates in Mexico also highlighted the importance of the tools shown in 10 Tactics not only to enhance activism and campaigns, but also to support legal action to rights abusers. Tijuana, like other border cities in Mexico, is
a hot-spot for migrant rights abuse. Both Mexican and Central American migrants arrive to the city aiming to cross to the US. All along the Mexican territory, human right abuses to migrants remain an issue. Mexico's Southern border is the most violent and dangerous region for any migrant due to the activity of organised gangs and corrupt police officers that attack, kidnap and abuse defenseless Central American migrants. Mexican institutions and NGOs have not been able to change this situation effectively since they remain 'toothless' in executive action against criminals and corrupt officials. Mexico's Southern Border state of Chiapas is the only region that has a Migration Abuse Special Attorney that can chase, catch and prosecute migrant right abusers. NGOs are usually legal advocate groups and caring houses for migrants. Thus, info-activism examples shared in 10 Tactics were seen to offer these groups ideas for how tools can be used effectively to witness and expose criminals and use this evidence to support criminal accusations in court. For further references and information on Human Rights and Migration in Mexico see here.

Andrea Guerrero, from ACLU, told the participants: "“We want to collaborate with our neighbors, especially regarding rights abuses. You [The Mexicans] receive the deportees; there are many thing that happen in the US that immigrants don't want to report, describe or document because of the fear that they have. But when the cross the border and and they're in migrant homes, they're ready to tell those stories … without that information we can't tell the border patrol, the police and the government that they aren't doing their job well or that they committing rights abuses. [The police or government] will always tell us to show them the evidence, the data.”

Story and photos by Juan M. Casanueva. Photos, Top: The 10 tactics screening. Middle: This poster says: "Tijuana is the corner of this country where dreams of a much needed peace bounce back". Bottom: The border patrol area.