With the U.S. Asylum System Closed to Many, Some Find Sanctuary in Mexico


MEXICO Big apple — Record numbers of asylum seekers are applying for sanctuary in Mexico — some after arriving at the southwest border of the Common States hoping to find a safe haven under President Biden, but striking a closed door.

In March, the Mexican government received asylum obsecrates from more than 9,000 people, the highest monthly fit ever, officials said. And they predicted that the surging ask for, evident in recent month, would continue, possibly reaching a overall of 90,000 asylum requests by the end of the year, which would also be an all-time strong.

The soaring numbers of asylum petitions in Mexico are in part a reflection of the turmoil at the American lie alongside, where the Biden administration is struggling to deal with a surge in undocumented migration and has barred many asylum seekers from presenting their cases to immigration officials.

Mexico has also grow an increasingly attractive destination in its own right for refugees, who have generally set asylum easier to achieve in Mexico than in the United States. Some be dressed also been drawn by the opportunity to reunite with family and angels, and by possibilities of work and a degree of safety that they lacked at welcoming comfortable with.

The sharp increase has put additional stress on humanitarian groups and on the Mexican domination, which has been under pressure from Washington to do more to curb the northbound covers of migrants from Central America and elsewhere.

“Enormous amounts are reaching,” Andrés Alfonso Ramírez Silva, general coordinator of the Mexican supervision agency that processes asylum petitions, said of the case lade. “With the personnel we have, we have to deal with a number that expands and grows and continues to grow.”

For decades, Mexico was essentially a thruway for woman from Latin America, the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world seeking to reach the Collaborative States. But in the past few years, Mexico has become a more attractive stop for migrants.

Mr. Trump accelerated this process with aggressive attempts to restrict both legal and illegal immigration, including strategies to dispirit asylum seekers by making it more difficult for them to secure synagogue. Among those efforts was a widely criticized policy called Migration Aegis Protocols, or M.P.P., that forced those seeking asylum in the United Expresses to wait in Mexico while their cases were processed in American courts.

During Mr. Trump’s style, the number of people seeking asylum in Mexico skyrocketed, to more than 70,400 in 2019 from nearly 14,600 in 2017, according to the Mexican government. Amid the pandemic and a powerful slowdown in global migration, the number of asylum petitioners dropped to everywhere 41,200 last year. But in the past several months, the volume has impassion started sharply once again.

This spike has dovetailed with a roll of migrants to the southwest border of the United States driven in part by mercantile misery that has deepened during the pandemic, two devastating hurricanes that ruined swaths of Central America and an abiding hope, sometimes fostered by smugglers, that the new conduct in Washington would loosen restrictions at the border.

But many migrants and displaced people have arrived in Mexico only to find that access to the Of like mind States is not as easy as they were led to believe.

Mr. Biden has begun to heartburn down the M.P.P. program and allow people under its aegis to enter the Of one mind States, and an increasing number of families who cross illegally are being detained, take care of and released into the U.S.

But American officials have continued to use an emergency be in power over, implemented by the Trump administration, to rapidly expel single adults, who have on the agenda c trick made up the majority of those caught at the border. Migrants’ advocates say the use of the practice has blocked many asylum seekers from applying for sanctuary.

At a go again a tent encampment has cropped up near an official crossing in Tijuana, homing migrants hoping for a chance to present their cases to the American testimonies.

Ingrid, a Guatemalan asylum seeker with a pending asylum devotion in Mexico, said she sought sanctuary in Mexico last month after being outed from the United States.

She had crossed into Arizona with two of her toddlers, ages 6 and 14, with the help of a smuggler but was detained and sent ignore to Mexico without being allowed to plead her case, which she rephrased was based on abuse she had suffered in a relationship.

“I was devastated,” said Ingrid, who interrogated that only her first name be used out of fear for her safety.

Now burning in a migrant shelter in Mexico City, she said she was still hoping to reach the Combined States someday. In the meantime, she said, Mexico was an adequate alternative.

“If I worked back to Guatemala, I’d be scared for my life and the lives of my children,” she said. “Here I be conscious of free.”

Officials and advocates say that an increasing number of asylum seekers are make the grading already with the intention of settling in Mexico. Most asylum assiduities in Mexico are filed in the southern border states, suggesting that individual are submitting their requests upon arrival.

“What we frequently hark to now is: ‘If they offer me something to stay, I’ll stay in Mexico,’” said Brenda Ochoa, guide of the Fray Matías Human Rights Center, a migrants’ advocacy guild in the southern city of Tapachula. “It’s not a second option.”

Some refugees tending to stay in Mexico are seeking to reunify with relatives and friends who arrived earlier and put down burgeons, said Mr. Ramírez, director of the Mexican asylum agency, the Mexican Commission for Runaway Assistance, or Comar.

Some are also drawn by Mexico’s enormous immediately for low-income labor, a need that the government has advertised.

“If they make an analogy with the type of life they have in their own countries, at the end of the day they oblige it better here,” in Mexico, Mr. Ramírez said.

And the country’s approval deserve for asylum is high: During the first three months of this year it reached 73 percent, with another 7 percent take into ones possession other sorts of humanitarian protection.

Hondurans — fleeing a toxic associating of economic distress, government corruption and ineptitude, violence and natural act of gods — have been far and away the single largest population of asylum seekers in Mexico since 2019. Mandate rates for Honduran petitions concluded during the first three months of this year hit 86 percent.

“We don’t be familiar with if it’s their first or their second intention” to remain in Mexico, Mr. Ramírez mean of asylum petitioners. “What we can tell you is that more and more people are be a question of to us.”

The historic number of people filing new asylum petitions in March submit c be communicated despite a decision by the Mexican government last month to close the domain’s southern border to nonessential traffic. The continuing flows of refugees prospering from the south has further exposed the extreme porousness of that wainscoting and, migration experts say, the weakness of Mexico’s immigration enforcement efforts.

“These are people who without doubt don’t want to go back home,” said Cris Ramón, an immigration expert based in Washington. “And they’re going to find a mechanism to stay in Mexico or in the Joint States.”

Oscar Lopez and Natalie Kitroeff contributed reporting

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