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Mexican Migration Agency Posts U.S. Primer on Latin Gang Tattoos

September 20, 2013
The seal of the 2012 “Anti Gang Program” for Mexico adorns most of the pages of this strange document.

The seal of the 2012 “Anti Gang Program” for Mexico adorns most of the pages of this strange document.

Recently, our colleagues at Fundar discovered a truly bizarre document buried deep inside the Web site of Mexico’s National Institute for Migration (INM): an 86-page report featuring graphic photos of the body art adorning the bodies of Mexican and Central American gang members. (You can download the full report here.) In some cases, the individuals in the photographs—who were presumably detained by U.S. or Mexican immigration authorities—seem to be seriously wounded or even dead. (Warning: Some of the photos are disturbing.)

Written in Spanish, the document appears to have been produced by an unspecified U.S. law enforcement agency and bears the markings of the 2012 “Anti Gang Program” for Mexico. Stranger still, INM published the document without further explanation on a lonely, uncategorized outpost of its Web site that is essentially unreachable unless you perform a Google search for the document title: “Pandillas Latinas y Los Tatuajes del Pandillero” (“Latin Gangs and the Tattoos of Gang Members”).

The document is especially interesting in light of a 2012 Wall Street Journal report that gang tattoos are preventing some would-be immigrants from obtaining visas and green cards. “Tattoo checks have ensnared scores of immigrants—mostly from Latin America—even though they have no criminal conviction,” according to the report.

Read the full post and view pages from the report at Migration Declassified.

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