The history of migration in Mexico wrote another of its black pages on Wednesday. The National Migration Institute (INM) located 195 people, mostly from Central America, in overcrowded conditions, without water or food, in a hotel in Apodaca, in the state of Nuevo León, according to the agency in a statement. . Among them, there were 13 underage children traveling alone. All of them are already in the custody of the State, which has not yet specified where or how they are at the moment, or whether it has been necessary to hospitalize any of those affected.
A complaint to the State Investigation Agency raised the hare. The INM, in a joint operation with members of the National Guard and the Nuevo León Attorney General’s Office, accessed the place and carried out an identity verification. The result: 80 people from Honduras; 38 from El Salvador; 36 from Guatemala; 36 from Nicaragua; one from Cuba; one from Peru, and three from the Dominican Republic. Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador make up a region known as the Northern Triangle, where a high percentage of migrants come from, due to the violence and extreme poverty of the place. The profiles were varied, there were cases of families who traveled together, as well as adult men and women who did it on their own, in addition to the 13 unaccompanied children.
The reality of migrants as they pass through Mexico is plagued with violence and difficulties. They face being disappeared, assaulted, murdered, recruited by organized crime against their will or detained and beaten by immigration agents, who try to contain or deport them. As on October 8, when 652 people were also located in the state of Tamaulipas, crossing the country crowded aboard three trailers without ventilation, according to the INM. 349 were minors.
Or at the end of the same month, the day the National Guard opened fire on a van carrying 13 people from Cuba, Haiti, Brazil and Ghana. The bullets killed two Cubans and injured four other passengers. “To Cristóbal [uno de los fallecidos] They put nine bullets in him, they riddled him in the middle of a hail of bullets, “one of the passengers in the vehicle told this newspaper, who also denounced that after the shooting, the agents placed a weapon in the car to justify their way of proceeding. . The National Guard has recognized the shots, but assures that the agents only acted because of “the imminent risk to their integrity.”
Or when the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador justified the police charges – whose images were made viral by the violence shown by the National Guard and INM personnel – against a caravan of migrants that left Tapachula (Chiapas) at the end of August , arguing that they were only trying to protect them: “We have to take care of the migrants, even though it is paradoxical. If we allow them to transit to the north of our country to cross the border, we are running risks ”.
Migration record and deportations
In 2021, Mexico received 108,195 asylum requests, the highest number in its history. Most of them are people from Haiti and Honduras, although the list is also made up of Cubans, Salvadorans, Chileans, Venezuelans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Brazilians or Colombians. In recent years, Mexico has become one of the hot spots for global migration, crossed by people from all over the continent on their journey to the United States. And, as NGOs and organizations, both local and international, have been documenting for some time, violations of the human rights of migrants have been constant as they pass through the country.
In a report by Amnesty International and the Haitian Bridge Alliance, published at the end of October and in which it was criticized that Haitian migrants were not safe in their transit through the continent, both civil organizations placed special emphasis on the case of Mexico. Specifically, the report denounced the situation in Tapachula, a city of 300,000 inhabitants on the border with Guatemala where more than 35,000 migrants are being held by the security forces. Tired of waiting for a solution that never comes – the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid is overwhelmed in the place – overcrowded and in conditions documented by various NGOs as subhuman, every so often caravans leave the place trying to break the government’s siege. .
At the end of September, in Ciudad Acuña (Cohauila), a city bordering the US state of Texas, an informal camp of thousands of migrants was formed, fleeing from persecution on the other side of the border, retraced their steps seeking refuge in Mexican territory. There they also encountered “voluntary” arrests by the Mexican security forces, who were seeking to return the foreigners to Tapachula.
Many of them have been deported back to Haiti, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Government speaks of voluntary returns, although cases that crack the official account continue to be documented, such as that of a Haitian who tried to jump off the plane’s ladder when he was going to be deported. Organizations working on the southern border, such as Amnesty International, have also documented hot returns without legal guarantees. The main question now is in what conditions are the 195 people “rescued” this Wednesday, and if in the custody of the INM the procedures to obtain legal status will be accelerated or, on the contrary, they will be returned to Tapachula or deported to their countries of origin.
Subscribe here to newsletter of EL PAÍS México and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of this country