Latina U.S. citizen detained in Mexico indefinitely

I've read this story about three times and I still can't believe it. How is it possible that a U.S. citizen who shows proof of citizenship--as in a birth certificate--is being barred from entering the country where she was born? The answer is complicated, but it's more proof that the immigration system and laws of this country are shamefully outdated.

Brenda Vazquez has been stranded in Matamoros, Mexico for the last three months, after being coerced by a US border official to make a statement denying her American citizenship, according to a story by The Brownsville Herald.  


Vazquez says that when she was attempting to return to her home in Welasco, Texas--where she was born in 1982--after visiting Matamoros back in February, a border officer seized theTexas's driver's licence and U.S. birth certificate she presented to him. After seven intense hours of questionining at a Brownsville international bridge, Vazquez felt intimidated enough to sign a false statement saying she had NOT being born in the U.S.

I get so mad reading stuff like this because I think it's completely unacceptable that a U.S. citizen is treated in such an inhumane manner. I can only imagine what Vazquez must have been going through to decide to go ahead and sign a document like that. I mean, she must have known the consequences of what she was doing, but found the questioning too unbearable. ¡Pobre!

I think Vazquez' attorney, Jaime Diez, put it best when he said:

We understand [border officials] have a very difficult job doing their work. If someone was born in the U.S., if they have doubts, they need other ways to resolve those doubts than putting someone in a room for seven hours without access to an attorney.

Diez has filed a petition in federal court explaining why she made the false statement and is fighting to retrieve her documents proving she's a citizen. The border officials, of course, have not responded to media inquiries, so we don't know their side of the story. But I definitely plan to follow the Latinas struggles in the hopes that we can all finally come to an agreement that our immigration laws need to be reformed!

Can you imagine being a U.S. citizen and being barred from entering your country of birth? Share with us in the comments below!

Archive image via Getty Images

Topics: immigration  latinos in america  latinos in the news


on Jun 4, 2012 at 5:29 PM

No me sorprende... lo que me sorprende es que ella se haya dejado intimidar de tal manera como para firmar una falsa declaracion donde rechaza haber nacido en los Estados Unidos.


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on Jun 4, 2012 at 5:46 PM

OMG I cant imagine how scary that must be...I don't know what the hell i would do. This is so sad cause it happens all the time to our people always getting question on their illegal statues here in the USA!

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on Jun 5, 2012 at 9:44 PM

This is exactly why no matter how much I miss Texas (I grew up there) and how much Pete would like us to move to Arizona, I refuse to move my family down south OR leave the country.

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on Jun 6, 2012 at 4:07 AM

Very awful. This stuff is not in the news and I'm in Houston, which is not very far. 

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on Jun 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

This is the first time I'm hearing of this and I think this is crazy!! The problem with a lot of these border patrol officers is that they abuse their power. And no one is doing anything about it.  I have a friend who is married to an US Army soldier, her 3 children were born in America and is still being deported. And was told that she will never be able to set foot on US soil. She has been given the run around. She hired a lawyer who screwed her over more. She is desperately trying to get her papers in order to no avail. She had to live away from her children for a year. She was finally able to reunite with her family because her husband is stationed in Germany. If they give him a stateside duty station she will have to return to Mexico.

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on Jun 6, 2012 at 6:13 PM

This is also the first time I've heard about this.  I can't imagine what she went through to get convinced to sign such a document...I've never been in her situation and never want to be.  I completely understand & agree with 'Acrogodess" comment.  I hope it all gets resolved soon. 

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