Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a sidewalk, their temporary home while they wait for their number to be called to claim asylum in


Mexicans are increasingly the face of asylum in the United States, replacing Central Americans who dominated last year’s caravan and a surge of families that brought border arrests to a 13-year-high in May. | AP

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a sidewalk, their temporary home while they wait for their number to be called to claim asylum in

Mexico resumed its position in August as the top-sending county of people who cross the border illegally or are stopped at official crossings, surpassing Honduras, followed by Guatemala and El Salvador. Mexicans accounted for nearly all illegal crossings until the last decade as more people from Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries decided to escape violence and poverty.

“Given the deterioration in the security situation in many parts of Mexico, with homicide levels that are exceeding even the record high numbers from 2018, it seems likely that more Mexicans are fleeing their hometowns out of fear and the growing sense that the Mexican government, at all levels, is either unable or unwilling to protect them,” said Maureen Meyer, director for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights research group.

The U.S. government has limited detention space for families and, under a court settlement, must release families within 20 days. Asylum-seeking families have generally been released in the United States with an ankle monitor on the head of the household and a notice to appear in backlogged immigration courts, where cases can take years to resolve. That changed for everyone except Mexicans with the new U.S. limits on asylum and its policy to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico, known officially as “Migrant Protection Protocols” and colloquially as “Remain in Mexico.”

Since opening July 27, the Welcome Center has seen 567 people come through, IRC spokesman Stanford Prescott said. Nearly 64% were Mexican, and nearly 7 percent were Guatemalans. In March and June, before the Welcome Center opened but when IRC and others were already assisting migrant families, Guatemalans were about 76% of families served.

In Juarez, about 100 families make up the camp of tents that lines both sides of a side street leading to the city’s main promenade and Paso Del Norte border crossing, where asylum claims are processed. Some at the camp said they were coming because of a lack of jobs in southern Mexico.

Read more: Inquirer

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20 October 2019, Sunday News

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