Compensation paid for unlawful detention

Australian man had won case against immigration institute three years ago

The National Immigration Institute (INM) has paid compensation to an Australian man who was ruled to have been illegally detained by the government agency over seven years ago.


It is the first time the INM has made a payment of this type to a foreigner in Mexico.

Stephen Compton was held in the Mexico City immigration center Las Agujas from November 2009 until March 2010 after being unable to provide INM officers with documentation that allowed him to be in the country.

But in November 2010, Compton — supported by the migrant advocacy association Sin Fronteras— initiated legal action against the INM seeking compensation for unlawful detention and violation of his rights.

He was ultimately successful in the case.

The federal Administrative Justice Tribunal (TFJA) ruled in April 2014 that the INM must pay 120,000 pesos (US $6,800) to Compton as compensation for moral injury.

The court determined that the detention violated the man’s rights because at no time was he informed about what those rights were, most importantly that he could regularize his immigration status.


However, it took over three years for the INM to comply with the judgment and make a payment that represents the first time the agency has paid compensation for damage caused by so-called administrative irregularities.

Compton first entered Mexico as a tourist in December 2004.

Almost five years later, in November 2009, immigration authorities carried out a check at the Hotel Mary in Acapulco, Guerrero, where Compton was staying.

When requested, he was unable to provide evidence of his immigration status.

The next day he was taken into custody and on November 26 a decision was made to deport him.

However, before that happened Compton was transferred to the Mexico City detention center where he remained for almost four months.

In a statement, Sin Fronteras highlighted the fact that the payment was unprecedented and that the INM has detained migrants without giving due process to their rights.

“Compliance with the TFJA ruling by the INM is an historic event since it’s the first time the National Immigration Institute has paid monetary compensation for irregular administrative activities and recognized that its immigration detention is arbitrary and must only occur in cases when it is necessary, proportional and suitable.”

It regards the case as a win for migrants’ human rights.

However, the group also stated that the INM is yet to comply with a court order to publish an extract of the ruling in the federal government register, the Official Journal of the Federation.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • $6,800 for four months in the slammer seems a tad puny.