Pulled for Secondary Screening at MEX

Old Feb 20, 21, 9:52 pm
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Pulled for Secondary Screening at MEX

I am a US citizen that flew SFO-MEX-SDQ for a week vacation 12-20 February 2021, and both times I was pulled for secondary screening. I was placed in a small room with multiple people (social distancing was not practiced), and the officials all claimed not to speak English and forced me to sit there and not explain anything. After a few hours, I was told to sign a document that was in Spanish and was released. I have flown to Cancun in 2013 and Cozumel in 2018 and did not have a problem entering or leaving Mexico, and my record is still spotless. i have Global Entry, so I am not a criminal. I have not been pulled for secondary screening at any other airport domestically or internationally.

-One form asked if I wanted to speak to the embassy; I said yes, and I was still denied a phone call.
-Cell phones were not allowed, so I couldn't use a translation app to communicate.
-The forms I signed a copy was not authorized to be given to me.

I am tempted to avoid any travel to or through Mexico at this point. Any advice on how to handle this in the future?
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Old Feb 21, 21, 2:19 am
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Originally Posted by cjjones051
I am a US citizen that flew SFO-MEX-SDQ for a week vacation 12-20 February 2021, and both times I was pulled for secondary screening. I was placed in a small room with multiple people (social distancing was not practiced), and the officials all claimed not to speak English and forced me to sit there and not explain anything. After a few hours, I was told to sign a document that was in Spanish and was released. I have flown to Cancun in 2013 and Cozumel in 2018 and did not have a problem entering or leaving Mexico, and my record is still spotless. i have Global Entry, so I am not a criminal. I have not been pulled for secondary screening at any other airport domestically or internationally.

-One form asked if I wanted to speak to the embassy; I said yes, and I was still denied a phone call.
-Cell phones were not allowed, so I couldn't use a translation app to communicate.
-The forms I signed a copy was not authorized to be given to me.

I am tempted to avoid any travel to or through Mexico at this point. Any advice on how to handle this in the future?
When you say that both times you were pulled for secondary screening, in which airport/airports did that happen for that week vacation?

Wasn't at least one of the forms the US's attestation form where you attest to you having met the US Government's Covid-19 testing requirement to fly to the US?

Was one of the forms possibly a form related to Mexico having considered you to have overstayed in Mexico (on a mistaken basis or otherwise)?

Was one of the forms done at MEX a form given to you to sign by the people doing the airside secondary screening that involves a patdown and cabin baggage item search?
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Old Feb 21, 21, 5:28 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
When you say that both times you were pulled for secondary screening, in which airport/airports did that happen for that week vacation?

Wasn't at least one of the forms the US's attestation form where you attest to you having met the US Government's Covid-19 testing requirement to fly to the US?

Was one of the forms possibly a form related to Mexico having considered you to have overstayed in Mexico (on a mistaken basis or otherwise)?

Was one of the forms done at MEX a form given to you to sign by the people doing the airside secondary screening that involves a patdown and cabin baggage item search?
Only pulled for screening while connecting through MEX airport. The week vacation was in the Dominican Republic.

They did not ask about Covid testing, it was provided at the airport in the Dominican Republic at check-in.

There wasn't a possibility of overstay due to just passing through for connecting flights.

There wasn't a pat-down because I was on the airside.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 2:36 pm
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Did the forms have the initials of INM? If so, then you signed something from the Instituto Nacional de Migracion who controls immigration to/from Mexico. Did they take additional details like passport information down?

I think if it was INM that did this to you and that they took down passport information I would be concerned, as that information would make its way to into a database.

But it seems to me based on current information, they merely detained you and forced you to sign something without asking for additional information or searched you.
If this was secondary screening then at the minimum, they would have searched your belongings.

If you feel you have time, you can visit the Mexican consulate and see what was noted about you or attempt to get a visa or take a trip to SAN and cross the border into Tijuana on foot and see what happens (not the best way to find out). Or if you don't want to find out, and you want visit the DR again, skip any layovers which happen to go through Mexico.

Last edited by i0wnj00; Feb 21, 21 at 2:49 pm
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Old Feb 21, 21, 3:58 pm
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Piecing this together, it appears that OP is speaking about two experiences transiting Mexico. Thus, Global Entry would have nothing to do with it.

Given that this happened twice, it is entirely possible that OP is on some form of watch list for Mexico and that he can expect this treatment when entering (or transiting) Mexico going forward. Could be that there is a name match to some "bad guy," could be an outright error, or could be that there is a specific reason. But, bottom line is that the local Consulate is not going to obtain this information for OP.

Agreed that this is a hassle and that the conditions of confinement are unsafe. Best to avoid Mexico for the time being, when possible.

Passport data and the like doesn't matter. Mexico, of course, has that for all passengers whether they are pulled into secondary or not.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 4:49 pm
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Pretty sure I know the experience you're talking about. I've been to MEX twice with CDMX as the final destination. Had no issues the first time. Second time, the customs agent stamped my passport before calling me back as I was about to leave and writing cancelado on my stamp. She said to follow her and I was taken to a waiting room where my passport was taken.

The waiting room was full of Spanish speakers from countries such as Colombia. They took my passport and just told me to wait. They'll yell at you to leave your phone with your belongings so make sure you're discreet. I texted for someone to call the embassy for help if I was stuck too long. Finally got my passport back 30 minutes later and I was told it was a mix up with someone with the same name.

Seems implausible as my name is very rare. I can't imagine why someone else from Canada with the same name would be suddenly wanted in Mexico within a short period of time between the 2 visits. Haven't gone to Mexico since so I don't know if it'll be an issue again.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by i0wnj00
Did the forms have the initials of INM? If so, then you signed something from the Instituto Nacional de Migracion who controls immigration to/from Mexico. Did they take additional details like passport information down?

I think if it was INM that did this to you and that they took down passport information I would be concerned, as that information would make its way to into a database.

But it seems to me based on current information, they merely detained you and forced you to sign something without asking for additional information or searched you.
If this was secondary screening then at the minimum, they would have searched your belongings.

If you feel you have time, you can visit the Mexican consulate and see what was noted about you or attempt to get a visa or take a trip to SAN and cross the border into Tijuana on foot and see what happens (not the best way to find out). Or if you don't want to find out, and you want visit the DR again, skip any layovers which happen to go through Mexico.
My belongs were not searched, they did take my passport. It was odd that it happened 2x as I passed through MEX in a weeks time.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 7:08 pm
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There are security measures that none of you are aware about and in prior post I was chided. But you have no way of knowing if you slept near someone or were seated near someone of interest to authorities.
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Old Feb 26, 21, 5:44 am
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Why did you sign a document if you didn't know what it said and no one would tell you what it said?

They have people who speak English there. Lots of them.
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