MEXICO CITY - Record number of applicants asylum apply for sanctuary in Mexico - some after arriving at the southwestern of the United States in hopes of finding a safe haven under the presidentBiden, but knocking on a closed door. In March, the Mexican government received asylum applications from more than 9,000 people, the highest monthly tally on record, officials said. And they predicted that the growing demand, evident over the past month, would continue, possibly reaching a total of 90,000 asylum claims by the end of the year, which would also be a level record.
The surge in asylum claims in Mexico partly reflects the unrest at the US , where the Biden administration struggles to cope with an increase in undocumented migration and has prevented many asylum seekers from presenting their cases to immigration officials .
Mexico is also dIt has become an increasingly attractive destination in its own right for refugees, who have generally found asylum easier to achieve in Mexico than in the United States. Some were also drawn to the opportunity to reunite with family and friends, as well as the job opportunities and a degree of security they lacked at home.
The sharp increase has put additional pressure on humanitarian groups and the Mexican government, which has come under pressure from Washington to do more to curb the flow of migrants to the north from Central America and elsewhere.
"Huge sums are coming," Andres Alfonso Ramirez Silva, general coordinator of the Mexican government agency that processes asylum applications , said about the workload. "With the staff we have, we have to deal with a namebre that grows and grows and continues to grow.
For decades, Mexico has essentially been a gateway for people from Latin America, the Caribbean and around the world seeking to reach the United States. But in recent years, Mexico has become a more attractive destination for migrants.
Mr. Trump has accelerated this process with aggressive efforts to restrict legal and illegal immigration, including strategies to deter applicants for immigration. asylum by making it more difficult for them to obtain refuge. Among these efforts was a widely criticized policy called Migration Protection.Protocols, or MPP, which required asylum seekers in the United States to wait in Mexico while their cases were processed in American courts.
During Mr. Trump's tenure, the number of people seeking asylum in Mexico skyrocketed to over 70,400 in 2019 from around 14,600 in 2017, according to the Mexican government. In the midst of the pandemic and a drastic global migration slowdown , the number of asylum seekers fell to around 41,200 last year . But in the last few months the volume has increased sharply again.
This peak coincided with an influx of migrants to the southwestern of the United States. partly by the economic misery that worsened during the pandemic, two hurricanes devastatingeurs who swat destroyed hs from Central America and a constant hope , sometimes nourished by smugglers, that the new administration in Washington would ease restrictions.
But many migrants and refugees have arrived in Mexico only to find that access to the United States is not as easy as they have been led to believe it. Image The migrants are quarantined in a hotel before being sent to migrant shelters in Ciudad Juarez. Credit ... Daniel Berehulak for Hfrance.fr
Mr. Biden began to dissolve the MPP program and allow people under his aegis to enter the United States, as well as a growing number of illegally crossing families are detained, processed and released in the United States
But US officials continued to use an emergency rule, implemented by the Trump administration, to quickly deport single adults, who make up the majority of those captured at the . Migrant advocates say rule enforcement has prevented many asylum seekers from seeking refuge.
Once again, a tent encampment has arisen near an official crossing in Tijuana, harboring migrants in the hope of 'have a chance to present their case to the US authorities.
Ingrid, a Guatemalan asylum seeker awaiting asylum in Mexico, said she had sought refuge in Mexico last month after being deported from the United States.
She had entered Arizona with two of her children, aged 6 and 14, with the help of a smuggler, but she was arrested and sent back to Mexico without being allowed to plead her case, which she said was based on abuse she suffered in a relationship.
"I was devastated," said Ingrid, who asked that only her first one be used out of fear for her safety.
Alive mNow at a migrant shelter in Mexico City, she said she still hopes to reach the United States one day. In the meantime, she said, Mexico was a suitable alternative.
"If I returned to Guatemala, I would be afraid for my life and that of my children," she said. "Here I feel free. Image Central Americans expelled from the United States in the Chihuahua State Population Council building. Credit ... Daniel Berehulak for Hfrance.fr
Officials and lawyers say increasing numbers of asylum seekers are already arriving with the intention of settling in Mexico. Most asylum seekerse in Mexico are filed in the southern states, which suggests that people submit their claims upon arrival.
"What we hear frequently now is: " If they offer me something to stay, I will stay in Mexico "said Brenda Ochoa, director of Fray Matias Human Rights Center , a migrant advocacy group in the southern town of Tapachula . "This is not a second option.
Some refugees inclined to stay in Mexico seek to reunite with relatives and friends who arrived earlier and that have taken root, Mr. Ramirez, Director of the Mexican Asylum Agency, Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees , or Comar.
Some are also drawn to Mexico 's huge demand for low income labor, a need that the government has made.
"If they compare the type of life they have in their own country, at the end of the day they have it better here", in Mexico Mr Ramirez said.
And the country's approval rate for asylum is high: In the first three months of this year , it reached 73%, while 7% received other types of humanitarian protection.
Hondurans - fleeing a toxic mix of economic distress, the corruption and government ineptitude, violence and natural disasters - constitute by far the largest asylum seeker population in Mexical since 2019. Approval rates for Honduran petitions concluded in the first three months of this year have reached 86%.
"We don't know if this is their first or second intention " to stay in Mexico, Ramirez said of the applicants asylum. "What we can tell you is that more and more people are coming to us.
The historical number of people making new requests Asylum in March came despite the Mexican government's decision last month to close the country's southern to non-essential trafficking. Continued refugee flows arriving from the south have further underscored the extreme porosity of this and, according to migration experts, the weakness of Mexico 's efforts to fight immigration fraud.
"These are people who do not clearly don't want to come homeer at home, ”said Cris Ramon, a Washington-based immigration consultant. "And they will find a mechanism to stay in Mexico or the United States. Image A bridge connecting Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas, seen from a migrant shelter in Mexico. Credit ... Daniel Berehulak for Hfrance.fr
Oscar Lopez and Natalie Kitroeff contributed to the report