Tribe split by U.S.-Mexico border will receive crossing
San Diego, California (AP)
Some Kumiai Indians in Mexico who have been separated from other members
of their nation by the U.S.-Mexico border will receive border-crossing
cards to ease their trips between the two countries.
The cards are the same as those used to cross daily by thousands of Mexicans
and allow bearers to travel up to 25 miles north of the border and stay
as long as 72 hours. Kumiai Indians in Mexico have been asked to use the
Tecate Mexico port of entry. They were scheduled to receive their border
crossing cards Jan. 19. The cards will be issued to about 50 Kumiai who
have Mexican passports. They had hoped for a special card of their own
but the border crossing cards were a move in the right direction, said
Louie Guassac, a Mesa Grande tribal member and coordinator
of a Kumeyaay border task force. "It's good progress. We're moving forward,"
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo separated the Kumiai in Baja California
and the Kumeyaay of San Diego County. The task force in San Diego County
is working with U.S. authorities to secure rights for the 1,000 or so
Baja Kumiai to cross the border giving them "pass and repass" privileges.
Under agreements reached last fall, criteria have been loosened to allow
the Kumiai more leeway to obtain Mexican passports, which is needed for
a U.S.-issued border-crossing card. Instead of requiring a birth certificate,
Kumiai will be allowed to show a baptismal certificate as identification.
"Because of their community customs... they don't have the (usual) documents,"
said Agustin Rodriguez, director of border affairs and judicial cooperation
for San Diego's Mexican Consulate. "We're aware of that situation and
take it into consideration." Eventually the Kumiai want to bring baskets,
pottery and other hand-made items into the United States to sell in an
attempt to raise money for their poor villages.