López Obrador: Mexico registers a 300% increase in asylum requests during 2021

Central American migrants demonstrate at the headquarters of the National Migration Institute (INM) to regularize their situation in the country, on Monday, in Mexico City.
Central American migrants demonstrate at the headquarters of the National Migration Institute (INM) to regularize their situation in the country, on Monday, in Mexico City.Madla Hartz (EFE)

The migration crisis facing the Mexican government has added a new record figure this Tuesday. The Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid (Comar) has registered at least 123,187 asylum applications so far in 2021, an increase of 300% compared to last year’s requests, when 41,230 applications were registered. Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Relations, has admitted that the immigration authorities have few resources to deal with this avalanche of petitions, although he has promised greater support to speed up the bureaucratic process and reduce the time that applicants must wait to receive a resolution. . “The authorization is given relatively quickly, but what Comar is asking for is support to accelerate the management in the face of this enormous increase. The Comar needs more budget and more personnel ”, said Ebrard during the morning press conference of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Mexico is the target of tens of thousands of Central American and Caribbean migrants who wish to enter the country in their desire to reach the United States, a promised land that has reinforced its immigration measures to curb the entry of foreigners. At the beginning of December, the governments of Joe Biden and López Obrador agreed to reactivate the Stay in Mexico program, a plan promoted by former President Donald Trump that forces migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait for their case to be resolved in Mexican territory. This decision was criticized on Monday by a group of Democratic lawmakers, who in a letter sent to the White House urged Biden to cancel the expansion of the controversial program. “We ask the Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to stop relying on this xenophobic policy and to give priority to the expansion of legal paths to migrate to the United States and the protection of refugees in Latin America,” the congressmen have demanded.

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The resumption of Stay in Mexico has also generated criticism from human rights organizations, who consider it to be a program that violates migrants. “Within the framework of the Stay in Mexico program, the United States and Mexico have knowingly adopted measures that put the lives of thousands of asylum seekers at risk,” said Ari Sawyer, a border researcher at Human Rights Watch. “There is no way that a program designed to delay the right to seek asylum by forcing people to wait in dangerous places can operate in a way that respects their rights. The governments of the United States and Mexico should back down immediately ”, he remarked.

Foreign Minister Ebrard has maintained the position agreed with the neighboring power and on Tuesday asked foreigners who enter Mexico to stay in the country and initiate a refugee procedure. It has ensured that despite resource limitations, 95% of applications are admitted. However, on Monday a group of 350 immigrants that make up the last caravan that has arrived in Mexico City protested to the National Migration Institute (INM) for the delay in the delivery of humanitarian visas and residence permits promised by the authorities. “They have to give us all documentation, not 30 to 30, we cannot continue wasting time,” Salvadoran migrant Fatima Vanessa, 23, who left the Central American country with her mother and son, told the EFE agency. six years after gangs threatened them after murdering her brother.

Authorities expect asylum applications to increase in the coming weeks, as the flow of migrants continues in the country. On Monday, another 114 people were detained in the southern state of Chiapas, one of the main entry routes to the country, mainly from Cuba and Venezuela.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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