As of January 21, Venezuelans must apply for a visa to enter Mexico, according to an agreement published this Thursday in the Official Gazette of the Federation. The new measure seeks to curb migration to the United States, as justified by the Government. The Ministry of the Interior (Segob) estimates that, between January and September 2021, irregular traffic from Venezuela increased by more than 1,000%, compared to the same period in the previous five years.
The government also estimates that more than a third of the total of Mexican nationals who entered Mexico in the first nine months of last year had the objective of crossing the northern border. It also warns that “false statements about the reasons for the trip, the diversification of transit routes and the identification of some crimes associated with international mobility, such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling, have increased.” With the foregoing, Mexico has defended the new requirement that will come into effect within 15 days. The agreement had already been announced in mid-December by Segob, but its implementation had not yet been dated.
Segob assures that it will work in collaboration with the Government of Venezuela to “eliminate the visa requirement in due course.” Meanwhile, since the last week of January, Venezuelans without permission to work who want to enter Mexican territory must apply for a visa “in terms of Procedures 1 and 2 of the General Guidelines for the issuance of visas issued by the Ministries of the Interior. and Foreign Relations, published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on October 10, 2014 ″, details the text.
The decision to request an entry visa for people from that country has generated concern on the part of civil society about the lack of protection in which Venezuelans can be faced with the economic crisis that their country is going through. Amnesty International sent an open letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the end of December with a call “to reconsider the decision and take all measures to guarantee the international protection of Venezuelans, in compliance with their international human rights obligations.” . However, the Government has maintained its position of containing the migratory transit that overflows the border with the United States.
In 2021, Mexico registered at least 123,187 asylum applications, an increase of 300% compared to the previous year’s requests, when 41,230 applications were registered, according to records from the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar). Venezuela has topped the list of countries where the largest number of applicants come from in past years. The UN estimates that some six million Venezuelans have left this country in continuous socio-economic collapse in recent years.
Venezuela is not the first country with which Mexico suspends non-visa agreements to curb the flow of migrants to the United States. Since December 11, Brazilian tourists must present their visa to enter Mexico, while Ecuadorian travelers must also present their immigration document to enter the country. The number of people who travel to the United States in search of a better quality of life than in their countries has not stopped growing in recent years. According to figures from the Mexican government, more than 190,000 undocumented people have been detained between January and September, triple the number in 2020, and some 74,300 have been deported.
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