Migrants with fear and hope for “Stay in Mexico”

Migrants with fear and hope for “Stay in Mexico”

EFE.- The migrants live with fear and sadness the reestablishment by the United States of the “Stay in Mexico” program, which forces them to wait in cities along the dangerous northern Mexican border while the US courts resolve their asylum applications.

The reinstatement this December of the US program officially named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which forces foreigners to wait in this country while a court evaluates their asylum application, has been met with enormous disappointment and concern among the community. migrant and activists, in whom confusion reigns.

The reactivation of the program is not something clear for activists such as José María Lara, director of the Youth Movement 2000 shelter in Tijuana, who stated that until now they have not been explained what will happen to those who continue trying to reach the United States.

“I think it is a setback, it seems that they want to help us and you can see that in reality, in practice, no. This program is even so that the migrant community, with the entrances and exits, in a moment stop insisting, “he told Efe.

The activist recalled that in 2019, when this program was first enabled, Central Americans repeatedly tried to obtain political asylum until exhaustion arrived and they deserted their objective.

Read: Mexico exceeds 228,000 migrant arrests and 82,000 deportations in 2021

“People came and went and there were Central American communities when the time came they did not want to know more about this program, and they looked for a way to stay here or in the border areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, migrant families have doubts and uncertainties about what this program entails, as is the case of a woman from Honduras, who has spent more than eight months in the city of Tijuana sleeping under the veil of the Youth 2000 shelter.

For her, there is no clear information about this program, and reaching the United States is her priority even if she has to wait as long as necessary. Otherwise, she also plans to stay and live in Mexico, but returning to Honduras is not an option for her.

For Almadelia Nava, originally from Acapulco, Mexico, things are no different. The woman arrived on Sunday accompanied by her husband, her two daughters and her teenage son, whose two thumbs were amputated by members of a criminal group.

“They beat him, mistreated him, cut off his fingers and threw him away thinking he was dead; We don’t want to go back for fear that they will grab him, ”said Almadelia, whose family arrived in Tijuana with the only resources they had saved.

According to an official letter issued by José Luis Pérez, a member of the Academia Mexicana de Derechos Humanos, AC, Mexico should receive more than 26,000 migrants who will be returned to await the resolution of their political asylum process, of them about 10,000 in Tijuana

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Hope in Ciudad Juárez

In Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez, migrants see the reestablishment of the program with hope and feel optimistic about the changes, including vaccination against covid-19 during their stay in Mexico and the reduction in response time to regularize their immigration status. .

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“It is good news, time is shortened, although the uncertainty of being at the border and waiting for a process continues, we suffer violence in Mexico from the authorities. It is good that they vaccinate us against the covid because the pandemic is a risk, “Luis Sorto, a native of El Salvador, told Efe.

His compatriot Kelvi Santiago Martínez also highlighted the vaccination and the possible reduction of times to respond to the migrant community, regarding the approval or not of their political asylum, which, he said, reduces uncertainty.

“Hopefully with this new program we can cross over, this gives hope to me and my family. We left our country four months ago and I have been in Juárez for three months, ”Martínez told Efe.

For the activists, the big challenge will be where to install the migrants. According to information from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on this border, of the network that they maintain with 23 shelters, there are 2,967 beds. Of this number, 85% are already occupied.

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Humanitarian vision

For the Undersecretary of Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior (Interior) of Mexico, Alejandro Encinas, the program “Stay in Mexico” should be seen as one more example “that a humanitarian vision is being prioritized in migration policy instead of polarizing the relationship with the United States ”.

In addition, he said that the period in which the migrant refugees will be in Mexico is defined, but “we hope that it does not last forever, but that it is a refugee situation,” he said.

The migration crisis hit Mexico hard in 2021 with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of foreigners – mostly Central Americans and Haitians – to the country seeking to cross into the United States.

Mexican authorities have intercepted 228,115 migrants and deported 82,627 from January to October 2021, numbers not seen in more than 15 years.

In addition, 123,000 migrants have requested refuge in the first eleven months of 2021, another absolute record since in previous years there were some 40,000 requests.

As a symbol of this growing crisis, several migrant caravans have left southern Mexico in recent months, most of them being dismantled by the country’s authorities, who received exhortations from the UN due to the treatment given after the The program, promoted by Donald Trump (2017-2021), stranded more than 70,000 people on the dangerous northern Mexican border for months.

Throughout these months, the Mexican government has insisted on addressing the causes of migration in Central America to curb the wave, even signing cooperation agreements with the United States to promote its development programs.

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