For U.S.-bound Central American migrants, better to stay in Mexico than be sent home

TAPACHULA, Mexico (Reuters) – Many of the Central Americans who lined up for papers at an asylum workplace in southern Mexico mentioned they might abandon plans to attain the United States and stay in Mexico if U.S. President Donald Trump clamps down additional on migration.

Central American migrants wait outdoors the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) in Tapachula, Mexico, June 14, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

Mexico is ramping up safety on its southern border with Guatemala as a part of an settlement with Washington after Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican items if the federal government didn’t stem the move of migrants reaching the United States.

As a part of that effort, Mexico has pledged to deploy 6,000 National Guard members alongside the border. Reuters reporters in Tapachula, a metropolis close to the frontier visited by many migrants, noticed no proof of that deployment there on Saturday.

Under U.S. strain, Mexico has agreed to increase a program began in January that forces migrants to wait in Mexico for the end result of their U.S. asylum claims. The United States started accelerating returns of asylum seekers to Mexico on Thursday.

In addition, if Mexico doesn’t cut back immigration flows by mid-July, it may change into a “safe third country” the place asylum seekers should search refuge as a substitute of in the United States.

In the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, the overburdened COMAR refugee workplace in Tapachula has seen a surge of asylum seekers. It is one among solely three such workplaces in the nation.

People ready in line outdoors the workplace mentioned they’d take their possibilities in Mexico if their solely different alternative was to return to violence-plagued Central America.

Thousands of households have fled poverty and rampant crime in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in the previous 12 months, making their method via Mexico to the United States.

“If we have no other option then yes, we could remain in Mexico because we really cannot go back to Honduras,” mentioned Dagoberto, 34, ready in line in the blazing noon solar on Friday along with his associate, Jose.

Dagoberto mentioned he had been threatened in Honduras when the enterprise he labored for was taken over by a prison gang. He was asking COMAR for a humanitarian visa to permit him to attain the U.S. border.

Dagoberto and Jose, who hope to get married in the event that they attain the United States, declined to give their surnames, saying the gang that compelled them out of Honduras had worldwide attain.

In an indication of intensifying efforts to stem the move of individuals, a number of hundred migrants in vehicles had been detained by safety forces at two factors in the japanese state of Veracruz on Saturday, a Foreign Ministry official mentioned.


Nidia Martinez and her three kids slept the earlier three nights on the sidewalk in entrance of the COMAR workplace, the place she is in search of a credential to let her to journey to the U.S. border.

“I want to get to the United States. If I can’t, then Mexico is a good place to live,” she mentioned, citing a way of elevated safety she felt since arriving in Tapachula.

“In Honduras, you can’t sleep on the street because they’d rob you. They’d rape you or kill you,” Martinez, 28, mentioned, beaming with reduction that she and her kids had not been assaulted in Tapachula.

But security in their case trusted sleeping simply outdoors the refugee workplace. Migrants in different components of the town and all through Mexico typically face extortion, kidnapping and worse by criminals or corrupt authorities officers.

Martinez mentioned she might search for her mom – who lives in Puebla, Mexico – and prepare to stay along with her and discover work. But she says she can’t go anyplace with out the COMAR doc.

“We have to sleep and wake up here because without that credential they will grab us and deport us if we try to travel.”

Her 20-month-year-old daughter, Litzy, seemed up at her, smiling in a fleece hoodie adorned with blue hearts, her hair tied with a purple band. Later in the day, they had been compelled by a tropical downpour to cram themselves into doorways to stay dry.

Slideshow (three Images)

Also sleeping outdoors for an opportunity at an interview in the refugee workplace was Hernando Gustavo Velazquez, 45, who arrived from Honduras per week earlier along with his sister and nephew.

Velazquez mentioned if he had been unable to obtain his dream of reaching the United States, then Mexico would be so much better than returning to Honduras.

“Here we have not seen any extortion,” he mentioned. “In Honduras, when they threaten to kill you for not paying for protection, they’re not lying.”

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Additional reporting by Roberto Ramirez in Tapachula and Delphine Schrank and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Steve Orlofsky and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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