Over 2,000 migrants storm refugee agency in southeast Mexico

Over 2,000 migrants storm refugee agency in southeast Mexico

Thousands of migrants demand attention and help in the face of US anti-immigration policies

By Jorge Antonio Rocha

MEXICO CITY (AA) - More than 2,000 migrants stormed the offices of the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission (Comar) in southeast Mexico seeking refuge and support, authorities said Wednesday.

The migrants had reportedly gathered outside the offices in Tapachula, Mexico’s main border city with Guatemala, since Monday, demanding refuge. They formed long lines in order to obtain a document that allows them to stay legally in the country.

Local authorities said that thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, tore down metal fences and entered the site, where the National Guard and police were guarding the building.

Migration officials halted operations as a result of the turmoil. Authorities did not report any injuries following the break-in.

The incident reflects longstanding problems surrounding migration in Mexico and the US's strident migration policies which have forced thousands of migrants to live in Mexican territory.

The current head of Comar, Andres Ramirez, had previously said that the organization is underfunded and overwhelmed by the increasing migration flows exacerbated by the ongoing economic and sanitary hardships experienced worldwide.

Mexico has become a focal point for migration in the region, being a pathway for migrants from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean looking to cross the US border.

In 2022, Mexico surpassed 118,000 asylum requests from migrants, the second largest figure after 131,448 in 2021.

According to Comar, Honduran migrants represented the most significant group of asylum seekers, with 31,086 requests. In second place were Cuban migrants, with 18,087 petitions, and in third place are those from Haiti, with 17,068.

US policies have exacerbated the situation. Last December, the US Supreme Court upheld Title 42, an antimigration policy implemented during then-President Donald Trump's administration.

Under Title 42, US authorities can expel migrants into Mexican territory without screening them for possible refuge in the US, relocating them to Mexico and overwhelming migrant shelters and migrant offices such as Comar. ​​​​​​​

More than 2 million deportations have been carried out under Title 42 since it was first implemented in March 2020.

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