Mexico's Official "Guide For The Mexican Migrant"

In 1994, the Government of Mexico produced this 32-page comicbook-style "How To" guide containing information to aid Mexican citizens seeking to cross the border illegally into the United States. Though little has been said in the national media, questions have been raised regarding the Mexican government's intentions with respect to producing the book.

Below is the text of the book, along with illustrations. The translation is courtesy of INFOMUNDO.US.

INTRODUCTION, PAGES 0 - 1

Guide for the Mexican Migrant 

Dear fellow citizen:

This guide tries to provide you with some practical advice that may be useful to you in case you have made the difficult decision to seek new work opportunities outside of your own country.

The safe way of entering another country is by first obtaining your passport, which is issued by the Delegations of the Secretariat of Foreign Relations, and your visa, which you request at the Embassy or Consulate of the country to where you wish to travel.

However, we actually see many cases of Mexicans who try to cross the northern border without the necessary documentation, crossing high-risk zones that are very dangerous, especially in desert areas or rivers with strong and not always noticeable currents.

INTRODUCTION, PAGES 2 - 3

Mexican ConsulateAs you read this guide you can also learn some basic questions about legal consequences of your stay in the United States of America without appropriate immigration documents, as well as the rights you have in that country once you are there, independently of your immigration status.

 Always keep in mind that there are mechanisms for you to enter the United States of America legally.

 In any case, if you encounter problems or difficulties, remember that Mexico has 45 Consulates at its disposal in that country, whose contact information you also can find in this publication.

Identify your Consulate and go to it.

RISKS, PAGES 4 - 5

DANGERS OF CROSSING IN HIGH-RISK ZONES

Crossing the river can be very risky, especially if you cross alone and at night.

Avoid swimming with heavy clothing Thick clothing increases your weight when wet and makes it hard to swim or float.

RISKS, PAGES 6 - 7

If you cross in the desert, try to travel when the heat is not so intense.

Highways and towns are very far apart, so that it could take you several days to find roads and you will not be able to carry food or water for that long; you could even get lost.

 Drink salted waterSalted water helps you retain body fluids. Although you get more thirsty, if you drink salted water the risk of dehydration is lessened.

 Dehydration symptoms are:

  • Little or no perspiration
  • Dryness of eyes and mouth
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Difficulty in walking and reasoning
  • Hallucinations and mirages

Follow roads and light poles If you get lost follow utility poles, railroad tracks or furrows.

BE CAREFUL OF ALIEN SMUGGLERS, PAGES 8 - 9

BE CAREFUL OF "POLLEROS", "COYOTES" OR "PATEROS" [Various names for alien smugglers)

Beware Human Traffickers They can deceive you by assuring you they'll cross you [smuggle you across the border] at certain times over mountains or through deserts. This is not true! They can put your life in danger leading you through rivers, irrigation canals, desert areas, along railroad tracks or freeways. This has caused the death of hundreds of people.

If you decide to use the services of "polleros", "coyotes" or "pateros" to cross the border, consider the following precautions to take:

Don't let him out of your sight; remember that he's the only one that knows the terrain and therefore is the one that can get you out.

They can put your life in danger Do not trust anyone who offers to cross you over to the "other side" and asks you to drive a vehicle or carry a package for him. Regularly those...

BE CAREFUL OF ALIEN SMUGGLERS, PAGES 10 - 11

...packages contain drugs or other prohibited substances. For that reason many people have ended up in jail.

If you transport other people you can be confused with an alien smuggler and be accused of alien smuggling yourself or even vehicle theft.

Do not entrust your children to strangers Don't hand over your minor children to strangers that offer to cross them to the United States.

DO NOT USE FALSE DOCUMENTS, PAGES 12 - 13

DO NOT USE FALSE DOCUMENTS OR DOCUMENTS OF OTHER PEOPLE, NOR DECLARE A FALSE NATIONALITY

If you try to cross with documents that are false or that belong to someone else, keep the following in mind:

The use of documents that are false or that belong to someone else is a Federal crime in the United States, for which you can be criminally prosecuted and end up in jail; the same as if you give a false name or say you are a U.S. citizen when you are not.

Do not lie to U.S. border crossing or inspection booth agents.

If you are detained IF YOU ARE DETAINED, PAGES 14 - 15

  • Do not resist arrest.
  • Do not assault or insult the officer.
  • Do not throw stones or other objects at the officers nor at the patrol cars, because this is considered a form of provocation.
  • If the officers feel they've been assaulted they will probably use force to detain you.
  • Raise your hands slowly for them to see you're unarmed.
  • Do not carry or hold any objects that could be construed as weapons, such as: lanterns, screwdrivers, blades, knives or stones.

IF YOU ARE DETAINED, PAGE 16 / YOUR RIGHTS, PAGE 17

If you are arrested

Don't try to runIF YOU ARE DETAINED

  • Don't run or try to escape.
  • Don't hide in dangerous places.
  • Don't cross freeways.

It's better for you to be detained for a few hours and be repatriated to Mexico than to get lost in the desert.

YOUR RIGHTS

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED, YOU HAVE RIGHTS!

Tell them if you are a minor Give your true name.

 If you are a minor and are accompanied by an adult, tell the authorities so they do not separate you.

YOUR RIGHTS / YOUR RIGHTS, PAGES 18 - 19

Your rights are:

  • To know where you are.
  • To request to speak to the nearest Mexican Consulate representative in order to receive help.
  • Do not make statement or sign anythingDo not make statements or sign documents, especially if they are in English, without the aid of a defense attorney or Mexican Government Consulate representative.
  • To receive medical attention if you are injured or in poor health.
  • To receive respectful treatment regardless of your immigration status.
  • To be transported safely.
  • To have water and food when you need it.
  • You are not obligated to disclose your immigration status when you are detained.

YOUR RIGHTS, PAGES 20 - 21

  • To not be hit or insulted.
  • To not be held incommunicado.

Inform the Mexican Consulate In case they take away your personal effects, request a voucher in order to claim them when you are released.

 If there is any violation of these rights, it's important for you to inform your attorney or Mexican Consulate representative that visits you or even the nearest Delegation of the Secretariat of Foreign Relations within Mexico.

Tune into the powerful AM 1570 If you wish more information and you live in Texas or in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, tune in to "The Powerful Station" at AM 1570.

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED / DETAINED, PAGES 22 - 23

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED / DETAINED

If you already were sentenced for some crime or you are facing criminal prosecution an a jail, you have the following rights:

  • To not be discriminated against by the police, the courts or prison authorities.
  • To receive visits from consular officials and family members.
  • To receive appropriate legal counsel without conditions or obstructions.

If you being criminally prosecuted and have not yet been sentenced, ask your attorney or consular representative what the "Plea Agreement" consists of.

Do not plead guilty without first consulting your attorney about the possibilities of winning your case if you go to trial.

Know the laws of the state It's important they you know the laws of the American state where you live and work, since each state's laws are different. Bear in mind the following information:

If you drink don't drive, since if you do not have papers you can be detained and deported.

If a legal resident is cited more than two times for drunk driving, he can be deported.

Do not drive without a driver's license.

Observe traffic signs and signals and use your seatbelt.

Do not drive without auto insurance nor drive an unknown vehicle.

[THINGS TO] AVOID, PAGES 24 - 25

If you're stopped for a traffic infraction Do not pick up strangers.

If you commit some traffic violation and are detained by the police, place your hands on the steering wheel and do not get out of the car until the officer requests you to do so.

Avoid calling attention to yourself, at least while you are arranging your residence papers to live in the United States.

The best formula is not to alter your routine of going between work and home. Avoid noisy parties because the neighbors can get upset and call the police, and you could be arrested.

Avoid fighting and noisy parties Avoid fighting.

If you go to a bar or night club and a fight starts, leave immediately, since in the confusion you could be arrested even if you did not do anything wrong.

Avoid domestic violence Avoid family or domestic violence. As in Mexico, it is a crime in the United States.

[THINGS TO] AVOID, PAGES 26 - 27

Domestic violence does not consist solely of hitting others but also can be threats, shouting or mistreatment.

If you are accused of domestic violence against your children, your mate or someone else who lives with toy, you could go to jail. In addition, Child Protective Services authorities could take away your children.

Do not carry firearms, bladed weapons or other dangerous objects.

Keep in mind that many Mexicans have died or are in prison because of these things.

Ask to see a search warrant If the police enter your house or apartment, do not resist, but ask to see a search warrant.

It's better to cooperate and ask to speak to the nearest Mexican Consulate.

CONSULATES, PAGES 28 - 29

The Secretariat of Foreign Relations has 45 consular representatives within the U.S and on its southern border, which are designed to help you. Remember: if you have been detained or are serving a sentence, you have the right to speak with the nearest Mexican Consulate. Always carry your "Guide to Consular Protection" with you at all times.

Get Near to the Consulate. Embrace Mexico.

It's your home, fellow countryman!

[signed by] 

- Secretariat of Foreign Relations

- General Administration of Protection and Consular Matters.

CONSULATES OF MEXICO IN THE UNITED STATES

Mexican Consulates 1 

Mexican Consulates 2 

 Mexican Consulates 3

Dangers, Risks...

The booklet hardly promotes illegal immigration. It is so full of dangers, risks, and bad things that can happen that anyone who even thinks of crossing the border illegally after reading this book must be very desperate. Sadly, many are. And educating such people about those dangers and risks and how to protect themselves when trouble happens (including knowing their rights) is not something to condemn.

Ed Cognoski ( http://edsops.blogspot.com )

Dangers, Risks

I am so glad I got a chance to see this publication here.

When I first heard about it, I was absloutely livid that the Mexican Government would sponsor such a thing. On reading it I feel completely differently. I don't want millions of illegals coming here, but I don't want them dying on the way or being abused because they made it here.

Who knows, maybe the comic book kept some who might have made the attempt think better of it. Maybe it saved some lives.

But you don't right a wrong by creating more wrongs. I think the real issue is like many problems we face. You have to take away the motivation. We aren't going to make the Mexican Government any more responsible to its own people to make that nation livable, but we sure don't have to continue to turn a blind eye toward the American employers who create the incentive for them to make the trip.

Maybe if we threw a few of those guys in the slammer and fined them two times every dollar they cheated both sides out of for their cheap labor, employers would get the message that they are the real problem.

The fines should go to our county medical facilities and schools who are bearing the brunt of providing the huge drain on our resources that illegal immigrants have become.

The other side is, we need to make legal immigration considerably more accessible and the process much more prompt. That side of it is a real big part of the problem as well.

Mexican Government Complicity

Yes you're right. I must have misread it. After reading it, I don't know why we can't talk our government into producing "Guide for the Convenience Store Robber."

It could start out: "This guide tries to provide you with some practical advice that may be useful to you in case you have made the difficult decision to knock off a convenience store because of your lack of cash this Christmas season."

It could mention that there are legal ways to earn extra money--but not go into too much detail. Who needs that!

Then it could explore things like clothing to wear, warn of the risks of surveillance cameras and how to avoid looking into them, how to tell whether the convenience store clerk is armed, etc.

That would be another useful publication to people whose sole purpose is to evade the law.

Give me a break.

If the "Guide for the Mexican Migrant" book warned about dangers, risks and bad things, and tried to discourage the behavior, that would be one thing. If it provided a checklist and a procedure for prospective immigrants to get into the U.S. legally, that would also be one thing.

But it goes beyond that.

It's a "how to" guide with a little extra language peppered in there so some people could make the claim that it "doesn't really" promote illegal activity.

The Mexican government doesn't lift a finger to help stop people from crossing the border illegally. By placing some of the cost burden back on the Mexican government, we can afford to give the illegal immigrants what they seek.

June 1 Boycott of All Mexican Products

Since the illegal community here has called for a boycott of all items on May 1, I'm calling for a boycott on June 1.

Illegal immigrants keep wages for "bottom tier" jobs low, locking many of our natural born minorities into grinding poverty. How do you compete with someone who will do your job for $3.00 cash under the table, when the minimum wage is $5.15 and the employer must also pay taxes? If you do manage to land a job, you certainly aren't in a position to ask for any kind of a raise faced with that kind of competition. Furthermore, I find that their demand to stay here illegally and without becoming citizens to be unacceptable. This tells me that what they're really mad about is being told that they're going to have to start paying taxes. WAAAA! The rest of us have to do it and we've been carrying your water for a long damn time. It's about time you started toting your share. Thirdly, I find that the fact that they managed to sneak/smuggle themselves up here means that they should get some kind of a free pass on the immigration policy to be unacceptable. It's a direct slap in the face of everyone who has come here the right way.

For those reasons, I'm suggesting that we have a June 1 boycott of all Mexican and "Latino" products. I think they need us far more than we need them. We can get some kid to mow our lawns, carry out our trash, or serve us at the drive thru.

Please do not by any of the follow items for one day:

* Mexican Food
* Tortillas or Tamales
* Hot sauce
* Mrs Baird's Bread (owned by Bimbo Bakeries of Mexico)
* Visit any restaurant that serves Mexican Food
* Visit Taco Bell or Taco Bueno
* Any Mexican pottery, brick, or tile
* Fruit - since most of it comes from Central or South America
* Chrysler, Plymouth, Mercedes Benz, Jeep, or Dodge vehicles since most are assembled in Mexico
* Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover or Astin Martin since they may also be assembled in Mexico
* Volkswagen vehicles which are also assembled in Mexico
* Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Saturn, Hummer, Saab, or Cadillacs since they are also assembled in Mexico