If you didn’t think Donald Trump’s dyspeptic pettiness and despotic daydreams could seep into the real world, well, you haven’t paid attention to history. Or to Donald Trump.
Two immigration attorneys and two journalists have reported being denied entry to Mexico in recent days after their passports were flagged. The immigration attorneys have been vocal critics of the administration’s policies, and they belong to a group that has sued U.S. Customs and Border protection for allegedly denying asylum seekers access to the asylum process.
The two attorneys who were denied entry into Mexico, Nora Phillips and Erika Pinheiro, are leaders of Al Otro Lado, a nonprofit group based in Los Angeles and Tijuana that has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
In recent months, Al Otro Lado has sent lawyers to Tijuana to advise members of a Central American migrant caravan that arrived late last year at the Mexican border city. Some of the caravan’s members are seeking asylum in the U.S. Al Otro Lado recently partnered with two members of Congress to escort a group of asylum seekers to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, where the group waited overnight until Customs and Border Protection officials agreed to accept the migrants for processing.
Phillips, the legal and litigation director for Al Otro Lado, said she was detained Thursday evening after flying to Guadalajara for a planned vacation with her husband and 7-year-old daughter.
Meanwhile, two journalists who covered the migrant caravan also had their passports flagged.
Kitra Cahana, a freelance photographer, was detained by Mexican immigration officials for 13 hours after a scan of her passport triggered an Interpol alert. She was told the trigger came from “the Americans.”
AP photographer Daniel Ochoa, who had also taken pictures of the caravan, was similarly detained.
Meanwhile, one of the Al Otro Lado attorneys has no illusions about the reasons for her detention:
“I think this is retaliation,” Phillips said. “I think this is because we sued the U.S. government. I think it’s that we’re pointing out gross, flagrant human rights violations being committed by the U.S. government, and they don’t like that.”
This is chilling. But, sadly, not all that surprising anymore.
What have we become?