CHIAPAS, MX: CPTer Questioned by U.S. Immigration in Mexico City
January 26, 2001
CHIAPAS, MX: CPTer questioned by U.S. Immigration in Mexico City.
On January 16, 2001, United States Immigration and Naturalization Services
(I.N.S.) officials questioned CPTer Scott Kerr in the Mexico City airport,
as he was entering the country. Kerr landed in Mexico City at 3:15 p.m. and
proceeded to Mexican immigration where he requested a 180-day visa, as most
members of the Chiapas team do when they enter Mexico. The Mexican
immigration officer directed him to the main office of the National
Immigration Institute where he waited for nearly an hour. Kerr was then
questioned by Charlie Walker and Pedro Alonzo, both employees of the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service . The interview lasted about ten
minutes and was conducted in the presence of a Mexican immigration officer
who did not participate in the questioning. Kerr then received a thirty-day
visa and was permitted by a Mexican immigration official to enter the
The U.S. government agents asked Kerr what his plans were while in Mexico,
questioning how long he would be in Chiapas and what his purpose was for
going there. They asked why he needed a six-month visa. They also asked
him whether he would be meeting with Subcomandante Marcos, leader of the
Zapatista Army of National Liberation, and if he was planning to join the
Zapatistas in their upcoming march to Mexico City. On noticing Guatemala
stamps in his passport, Walker also questioned Kerr concerning his
activities while in that country. The two officers expressed a belief that
he may not be admitted into the country by Mexican authorities and that he
needed to be careful not to involve himself in politics while in Mexico.
Kerr has had contact with U.S. Embassy employees Erik Hall and Patti Hoffman
regarding this incident. They affirmed that it is not the work of the U.S.
government to enforce Mexican immigration policy, but have not explained
the actions of the two I.N.S. employees, both of whom were present in the
embassy at the time of Kerr's inquiries there. Kerr also had a second
conversation with Pedro Alonzo, this time over the telephone. Alonzo first
denied having been involved in questioning Kerr and then characterized the
questioning as light spirited and not serious.
In a subsequent phone call, Hoffman clarified that the U.S. I.N.S. officials
were at the airport to review passports of two other travelers when Mexican
officials had questioned their authenticity. She explained that as they
were there when Kerr arrived with a rather worn passport, they were asked to
authenticate his documents as well.
It is unknown what effect this questioning will have on Kerr's status while
he stays in Mexico.