SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Municipal police officers in Tijuana routinely beat and assault deported migrants, a migrant advocate says.
Psyche Calderón Vargas, a coordinator with the Refugee Health Alliance in Tijuana, said there are specific injuries they are certain are the result of police.
“Officers are the ones who commit the most violence against drug addicts on the street, migrants are treated the same way often pushed aside,” she said, adding that members of Mexico’s National Guard also hurt migrants.
“It almost depends on the shelter where you are staying and where you are from,” Calderón Vargas said. “The National Guard likes to hit Haitians while the police officers like to assault deported migrants, they have their biases.”
She said that most of the time, their clinic is able to take care of the migrants and heal their wounds, but she says there have been instances where they’ve had to send migrants to emergency rooms for treatment.
“In our clinic, we have a policy of trying to remain informed and we ask them, ‘Who did this to you?’ They don’t always answer, but we know.”
Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero was asked by reporters if municipal police officers are beating and assaulting migrants, and she responded by saying, “Officers have instructions never to touch a migrant.”
She went on to say that she encourages migrants to file complaints if an officer hurts them.
“We can’t be touching migrants per our policy and that of human rights groups, but if I don’t have the complaints there’s nothing we can do,” said the mayor.
Mexico’s National Guard did not return our calls seeking comment on Calderón Vargas’ allegations.