Translated by Fulano from an article in JornadaBC.
Tijuana, February 28, 2017 – Having in his cell phone a photo with his name and work schedule cost a resident of Tijuana his visa to enter the United States. He spent several hours in secondary inspection at the San Ysidro border station, where he said immigration agents forced him under threat of jail to sign a document which he did not admit to nor had read.
Macario Luna Saldaña, 31 years old, a baker, was accused of working without permission in the United States, not being able to prove his financial solvency and residence in Mexico, and additionally, the document details the reasons why his visa was cancelled, saying he was “defiant,” and “uncooperative” with the agents who interrogated him.
He said he was threatened, mistreated and wronged before signing the document under threat of sending him to court and that he could be jailed. He warned he was going to seek legal advice from an attorney to appeal his case, which left him angry, and impotent as he was treated like a criminal, murderer and they ended up doing whatever they wanted to.”
He said he did not read nor was allowed to read the document before signing it, even though the document specified that “he understands his admissibility into the US was questioned for the foregoing reasons, that he had read it or had read it in Spanish.” In another part, the document said he could not show his residency nor financial solvency in Mexico.
It was 2PM last Sunday when he tried to cross the border via the pedestrian passage called PedWest. He was happy because the line was only 10 minutes long, but all that changed when a CBP officer at the entrance sent him to secondary inspection, where other officers interrogated him and reviewed his cell phone.
The first office asked him for his backpack in which he was carrying incense and aromatic oils who a friend living in El Cajon — the location of Shakira Pastry where he supposedly worked — had asked for. He was asked if he was paid to bring them, and he responded it was just a favor and told the officer he paid for them to help his friends.
“I went to another review, they asked from my telephone, and they started to review it, looked at the contacts and the photos,” he said. Among the photos was a personnel list of a bakery and hours, where the name Marciano appears, which a friend had sent me to show I was not the only person with that name.
Interviewed via telephone, Luna Saldaña said that among the photos was another which he took of a Mustang that was in front of the Shakira Bakery, because he was a member of a Mustang fan club in Tijuana.
He said that faced with the accusations, he showed them check stubs from his job “but they said they were insufficient proof to say he worked in Mexico. They wanted to be totally sure, and believes they talked to one of his contacts and asked if I worked at Shakira, and my contact said I did and I started work at 6PM on Sunday.
“They told me they were going to take away my visa, that if I did not sign here they would take me to court and could be jailed…in a mocking tone of voice, they mocked me, laughed at me and forced me to say I worked at Shakira Pastry.”
A customs agent who said he was a group supervisor said he had contacted Macario’s employer and when he denied Macario worked there, he called him a “liar” and warned him that lying is a crime. The employer was said to have responded, “then you should be arrested because you are the liars.”
He asked them if he could confront the person who identified him as a worker at the bakery, but they refused and also would not consider that the dates he entered and left the US did not coincide with the hours he was supposed to be working.
Macarlo Luna Saldaña said he obtained his visa in “October or November” 2016 and that the Wednesday before the Sunday when they took away his visa, he had paid taxes at Mexican customs for a package of clothing a friend had sent to his relatives in Tijuana.
“I swear on my life that I did not work in the US,” he said. He said that this Tuesday he will seek legal advice to decide if he would appeal the cancellation of his visa because “there are too many injustices, these people are too arbitrary.”