At least 70 Haitian migrants have been sent from Mexico to Port-au-Prince, as reported this Wednesday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) in a statement. It is a “voluntary” return agreed between both countries. The Mexican authorities do not detail under what conditions and with what guarantees the migrants will return to the Caribbean country. Hours earlier, the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, had stated that Haitians who arrived en masse in Mexico in recent weeks “cannot return to their country of origin” due to their “so vulnerable situation.”
A first group made up of 41 men, 16 women and 13 minors has been transferred from Villahermosa, in the State of Tabasco, to the capital of Haiti. These migrants, according to the SRE, were settled in Mexico City, in the State of Mexico, in Hidalgo and Tabasco. The SRE has not detailed to EL PAÍS under what conditions these people agreed to be transferred to Haiti, if they have a family or home there, and how the authorities of the Caribbean country will receive them.
The Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the representatives of Haiti agreed to carry out this action at a permanent dialogue table set up on September 21 to “attend to the needs of people of Haitian origin” in Mexico. In recent weeks, thousands of migrants arrived in Ciudad Acuña, in the state of Coahuila, to try to cross illegally into the United States. Most had traveled the entire continent, from Chile, where they had arrived in 2016, escaping political and economic instability.
Washington had warned that it would not receive them. But almost 30,000 migrants gathered at the border, according to US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The US authorities assure that they allowed the entry into their territory of more than 12,000 and about 8,000 returned to Mexico. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 3,500 Haitians were deported between September 17 and 27 by the US immigration services, reports the agency France-Presse.
“We have to understand now, being such a vulnerable situation, that they cannot return to their country of origin, because they do not have the conditions of guarantees of their safety to maintain their physical integrity and their family matter,” Encinas declared. “One of the new phenomena is that of integration,” he said, “because Mexico is no longer a country of expulsion or transit of migrants to become a country of destination.” Haitians are the second nationality of origin of those who ask for protection in Mexico, only surpassed by Hondurans.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard assured this Tuesday that many of the Haitians cannot apply for refugee status in Mexico because they have that status in other countries. The Mexican Commission for Refugee Support (COMAR), however, is processing applications from 13,255 Haitian citizens, according to Ebrard. The Government has set up a stadium in the city of Tapachula, on the border with Guatemala, to attend the asylum requests of thousands of migrants who enter the country through that point. That city is overwhelmed by the arrival of Central American migrants.
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