MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — The containment actions applied by Mexico on its southern border represent a risk for many migrants who are victims of abuse, discrimination and precarious conditions, acknowledges an investigation published Thursday that warns of the worsening of the situation before the increase in the flow of migrants this year.
The study by the Washington Office on Latin American Affairs (WOLA) maintains that the approach applied by Mexico to address the problem “does not allow constructively addressing the high levels of migration” and “causes a humanitarian crisis for migrants and vulnerable asylum seekers.”
Despite the questions raised by humanitarian organizations and activists against the limitations that Mexico has imposed on migrants in recent years, at the request of the United States, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has defended the containment policy, alleging that it is “risky” crossing through the Latin American country and that it is necessary to ensure the integrity of foreigners.
López Obrador has also urged the United States government to get more involved and invest 4,000 million dollars to finance social programs in Central America that allow addressing the causes of migration.
“Policies that seek to block or contain migration do not provide solutions for anyone; they only increase the vulnerability and suffering of migrants,” said Stephanie Brewer, director for Mexico and Rights of Migrants at WOLA, referring to the results of the investigation that included a visit between February and March by a delegation from the center to the border city of Tapachula, Chiapas state, where they held meetings with asylum seekers, activists and authorities.
In interviews, migrants denounced that they face extortion or detention by Mexican migration agents and security forces, and that when they manage to present asylum applications they must wait many months and face obstacles to obtain the necessary documentation to gain access. to a job, says the study.
In this sense, WOLA urged the Mexican authorities to take “decisive measures” to put an end to the “abuses and discrimination by the authorities against the asylum-seeking and migrant population”, investigate the complaints and punish those responsible.
In 2021, Mexico received 130,627 asylum applications – the third highest number of any country in the world – from people from Haiti, Honduras, Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Nicaragua and Colombia.
WOLA warned that during this year the flow has continued to increase and by April more than 40,000 asylum applications had been accumulated. “The country’s asylum system was not designed with those figures in mind, which is causing unnecessary delays and suffering,” says the think tank.
Given the complex panorama, Maureen Meyer, Vice President of Programs, suggested that next week’s Summit of the Americas could be an opportunity for regional leaders to address their failures in the protection of migrants and asylum seekers.
The Central and North American Working Group on Migration, in which academics, former presidents and social leaders from different countries participate, presented last month a report with 70 recommendations for the countries of the region in which, among other things, they urged open new avenues for legal migration and tackle not only the economic causes of migration, but also the political ones, such as corruption or access to justice.