Chiapas/National: Migrant Caravan – Desperate Action against Inaction

@PEDRO ANZA /CUARTOSCURO.COM

A caravan of approximately 700 migrants, mostly Haitians, left Tapachula on Saturday for the country’s northern border.

This caravan is a desperate protest action by the migrants against the delay in the administrative processes to present an application for refugee status – most of them have not been given an appointment until January 2022-; the detention and deportation of people with documentation – who are prohibited from leaving Tapachula – and the arrests and express returns to Guatemala.

This context had forced them to remain in Tapachula, “where there is a serious humanitarian crisis due to overcrowding, lack of basic services, and the gradual but generalized deterioration in the physical and emotional health of migrants living in a precarious health situation.” 

On Saturday, representatives of the National Migration Institute (INM), the National Guard and the Army tried to stop the advance of the caravan. According to the Collective for the Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in the Mexican Southeast (COMDHSM) “the members of the security forces formed anti-riot teams to block the way and kettle the caravan, beginning to detain people using excessive use of the strength.”

COMDHSM stated that “the people were attacked, subjected, beaten with shields and batons; the use of large weapons by members of the Army was noted, members of the INM dressed in civilian clothes inciting the aggression, as well as other unidentified security agents in civilian clothes and carrying firearms.” As such, several people were injured, to whom medical attention was not offered in a timely or sufficient manner. Cases of family separation were also documented.

On the other hand, the threat of deportation is compounded by organized crime, which has also made the kidnapping of migrants a business.

Enrique Vidal Oslascoaga of the Fray Matias de Cordova Human Rights Center, described the discourse of the Mexican government as two faced, and says it proclaims a safe and orderly migration, however, they do not stop repressing migrants and preventing or obstructing their process of regularization to settle in our country. Vidal stated that the Mexican government has intentionally delayed applications for refuge or asylum and that it is always hoping for the wear and tear of migrants who spend days, weeks and months without having their immigration status resolved.

Since the agreement between Lopez Obrador and former United States President Donald Trump to stop migration in June 2019, Tapachula is one of the key points to prevent the transit of foreigners to the northern border. A large part of the deployment of the National Guard is located there, dedicated exclusively to stopping the flow of migrants. Tapachula is the city with the highest number of asylum applications. So far in 2021, the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance received 64,378 requests for protection, of which 45,072 were processed in Tapachula.

For more information in Spanish:

Migrantes reanudan caravana desde Chiapas hacia EU (La Jornada, 29 de agosto de 2021)

Caravana de más de 500 migrantes avanzó por la carretera costera de Chiapas(Proceso, 29 de agosto de 2021)

INM y Guardia Nacional intentan bloquear migrantes en Chiapas: ¿cómo surge esta nueva caravana? (Animal Político, 29 de agosto, 2021)

“No podemos más, somos migrantes, no animales” (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de agosto de 2021)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/National/International: INM and Officials Denounced for Harassment of Migrant Defenders (May 3, 2021)

National: Claim that CNDH Ignores Information on Cases of Migrant Human Rights Violations(February 10, 2021)

Chiapas: INM Suspends Migration Procedures Due to Lack of Secure Conditions (January 14, 2021)

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