‘We can’t survive’: Migrants in Mexico protest slow asylum system
Hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers join caravan bound for Mexico City to demand expedited asylum proceedings.
Hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers from Central America and the Caribbean departed the southern Mexican city of Tapachula on Saturday in a caravan headed to the country’s capital, where they hoped to seek expedited asylum proceedings.
The group of approximately 500 people included families with young children from Haiti, Cuba, Central America, and Colombia, a witness told the Reuters news agency.
The caravan comes after days of protests by migrants in Tapachula, who have been demanding their cases be expedited so they could leave the southern state and relocate to other parts of Mexico or head to the United States border without risking deportation, according to local news reports.
“We can’t survive in Tapachula,” said Carlos Correa, a 31-year-old Colombian man, who said he joined the caravan on Saturday after waiting for three months without receiving a response to his asylum application.
“We are asking the government of Mexico to please create a humanitarian corridor for us so we can travel to the (US) border,” he said.
Under Mexican law, migrants must remain in the state where they sought asylum until their cases are resolved, a process that can take months or years.
Mexico and the United States have witnessed high levels of migration this year, particularly from Central America, where violence, poverty, and a hunger crisis have driven hundreds of thousands to flee.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have conducted more than 1.2 million arrests or expulsions of migrants and asylum seekers crossing the US border since October.
Mexico is facing mounting pressure from Washington to take steps to curtail US-bound immigration.
In recent weeks, the Mexican government has sent thousands of migrants to southern Mexico by plane, where they are transported by bus to the Guatemalan border.