U.S. government is flying thousands of migrants from other countries to southern Mexico

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The U.S. government is flying thousands of migrants from other countries to southern Mexico, where Mexican authorities drive them to remote locations on its border with Guatemala and drop them off. The idea is to reduce returns by making it more difficult for migrants to reach the U.S. again. Mexico is similarly moving migrants detained in the north to its southern border, said Dana Graber Ladek, Mexico chief for the International Organization for Migration, a part of the United Nations system.

Alejandra Macías, from the nongovernmental organization Asylum Access Mexico, says those are illegal transfers “because they don’t screen for people at risk.” The IOM has expressed concern about the flights as well, because people are dropped off “sometimes at night, sometimes without knowing exactly what they are doing or where they are,” said Graber Ladek.

MEXICAN GOVERNMENT ACTIONS

President López Obrador went along with the tough immigration policies of the Trump administration and has expressed willingness to continue cooperating with the Biden administration.

Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said last week that the main objective of the armed forces and National Guard is “to detain all migration” and “cover the northern border, the southern border with soldiers.”

But on Thursday, the president sounded frustrated with the migrant containment strategy, which lately has drawn widespread criticism. He said he would write a letter to Biden insisting the U.S. government invest in his proposed development projects to help people in Central America and southern Mexico feel less need to migrate — though so far, U.S. officials have been unenthusiastic about the specific plans.

His government has promised to issue thousands of work visas and welcome asylum seekers. But it was the military that received more budget support, while the refugee agency saw its budget reduced.

“We are overflowing with an absolutely unusual avalanche, above all of Haitians,” said Andrés Ramírez Silva, head of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance.

Others say the problem goes beyond an increase in asylum applicants. The Roman Catholic Church said the government “lacks a clear immigration policy and strategic planning.” It faults a mismanagement of resources, militarization of immigration policy and a lack of coordination between factions in government that push for containment and those that prioritize human rights.

POSSIBLE FIXES

To clear the backlog in Tapachula, Mexico’s refugee agency wants to offer new options to Haitians — the second largest migrant group behind Hondurans — that would allow them to travel outside the state of Chiapas and find legal work.

Ramírez Silva says these migrants don’t meet all the requirements to win asylum, but they do need protection because they can’t be returned to a country amid a political and humanitarian crisis.

He said not everyone in the Mexican government agrees with that approach, but he does have the support of United Nations agencies. Graber Ladek said they are working with the Mexican government to facilitate the granting of temporary immigration permits until officials can develop other ideas that wouldn’t be limited to one nationality.

Source: El Heraldo de Mexico

Mexico Daily Post