A family of Mexicans from Jalisco has accused the UK Government of discrimination after immigration agents from that country prevented them from reaching London, the city that would be the first stop on a trip to Europe for their daughter to participate in a festival of religious choirs.
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Diana Briseño said that they traveled to Europe because her daughter Andrea, 12, is part of a religious choir in Guadalajara that was selected to compete in the Corearte festival, which took place from October 15 to 21 in Barcelona, Spain.
The woman, her husband, and daughter, accompanied by a brother-in-law, decided to travel earlier to visit some European cities and bought plane tickets to London, before moving to Spain.
Briseño said that when they arrived at the London airport, some immigration agents asked them if they were Mexicans and separated them from the other travelers into a private room. There, the agents questioned them for little more than an hour about how much money they brought and where they were going.
The officials laughed when the Mexicans explained to them that the purpose of their travel was for their daughter’s choir, that they would be in the E.U. for several days, and even when they had shown that they had the economic resources to pay for the trip, according to the complaint.
“Since we arrived, they gave us a very discriminatory treatment because we are Mexicans, they asked us what we did for work, I answered that I am a nurse by profession and they tell me that a nurse does not earn to travel, nor does a Mexican earn enough to travel to London,” Briseño said.
Without allowing the Mexicans to communicate with their embassy, the agents forced them to open their suitcase and reviewed it with laughter and mocking comments, added Briseño.
“At the moment they finish checking, they close the suitcases and the one that was reviewing it throws my suitcase and Andrea’s and makes me sign a sheet.” I asked him what the purpose of the document was and he did not answer, he only said he signed it, the same thing happened with my husband,” she said.
The four Mexicans were held in the room for about nine hours without being allowed to drink water, eat or go to the bathroom until an agent explained that they would “issue an alert so they could not enter the European Union” and would be deported to Mexico, which happened hours later.
Briseño does not know the reasons why they received this treatment that qualifies as “degrading”, because they had everything in order.
“What originated it, I do not know, I just know that we travel with the dream of knowing London and the E.U., we did not intend to stay or live, or work, much less, because our final destination was Barcelona, but I feel that it was discrimination towards us for being Mexicans,” she says.
The family filed a complaint with the British Embassy in Mexico and went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to register the incident and an investigation began.
“What we are asking is that they pay the cost of the trip we were unable to take, because it was a lot of money that we lost, and at least a penalty for the people who treated us like that,” she concluded.