A resolution by San Miguel Center, PEN International
Endorsed by PEN México
Hérika Martínez Prado and Luis Christian Torres Chávez are Mexican journalists. Sra. Martínez Prado works for the France Press Agency (AFP) and the newspaper El Heraldo de Mexico. Sr. Torres Chávez works for the Xinhua News Agency.
They were working on a story about the detention center for migrant children in Tornillo, TX. On June 18, 2018, they accidentally strayed across the Mexican-US border south of Tornillo while attempting to take pictures of the detention center. This was an understandable mistake. In that area, the border is the Rio Grande, and at the time, the Rio Grande was a dry gravel bed.
Martínez Prado and Torres Chávez were arrested by agents of the US Border Patrol. They were detained for 16 hours, and released after signing a “voluntary deportation” order. They are now banned from entering the US for five years. This is in spite of the fact that both of them had valid B1/B2 Visa Border Crossing Cards; Sra. Martínez’ card was valid through November 11, 2020.
Martínez Prado and Torres Chávez are journalists with jobs to do. As an organization supporting the rights of journalists, the San Miguel de Allende Center of PEN International calls for lifting the travel ban immediately. We also call for an apology to these two journalists from the government of the United States.
Adopted at the annual meeting of San Miguel Center, PEN International, July 26, 2018