Migrant families at risk of extortion or kidnapping

CPT creates plan to ensure safe passage for migrant families who are at risk of extortion or kidnapping from the local cartel that controls movement in and out of Agua Prieta
CPT wears vests showing support for migrants at risk in Agua Prieta

The presence of organized crime in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico is real, but it is not always obvious. Yet every now and then an incident occurs that confirms the danger that migrants face from the cartel who attempt to control all migrant movement in and out of the city through extortion.

Many of the migrant families seeking asylum use the CBPOne app to set up an interview with US Customs officials. Some of those families stay at the CAME migrant shelter until they learn the date and location of their interview. Recently, one of those families received confirmation of their appointment in Nogales. 

The day before their interview, a shelter worker bought them a bus ticket online for the three-hour trip to Nogales. However, when the family arrived at the bus station, an employee told them they could not ride the bus, while two other men standing by the bus asked them to come into their “office” at the back of the station.  At this point, another customer recognized that the two men were cartel members who wanted to extort or kidnap the family.  She began yelling at the men and making a disturbance, and the family was able to get away from the bus station and return to CAME.

The family was safe but did not know how they would travel to Nogales the next day. So a shelter worker began calling car rental companies. Several companies refused to rent a car when they learned it was for a migrant family, but finally, at 10:00 pm a car was located. The next day another shelter worker, accompanied by a member of CPT, drove the family to Nogales in time for their appointment.

After this incident, the staff at CAME have begun to make a security plan for helping migrants get to their CBPOne appointments safely.  They know that the cartel controls buses arriving in Agua Prieta, but now it is apparent that the cartel also controls buses that leave. CPT will work with the shelter in order to ensure safe transportation for families at risk.

This reality calls for so many prayers:

  • Pray for migrants to have the courage to continue and for their safety as they travel.
  • Ask blessings for the shelter workers who are willing to face danger as they help migrants.
  • Give thanks for CPT accompaniers.
  • Pray that the US government will find a way to have a just immigration system.

Read More Prayers

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