| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

Mexico urges Haitians at US-Mexico border to give up and head south

Mexican officials are pushing Haitians attempting to cross the Texas border to give up and return to Mexico’s Guatemalan border to seek asylum, despite growing dissatisfaction with the treatment of the besieged migrants.

This month, up to 14,000 individuals, primarily Haitians, camped just north of the Rio Grande River in an effort to reach the United States, but hundreds fled to Mexico after US officials began returning people to Haiti by aircraft.

The US special envoy to Haiti resigned on Thursday in protest of the Biden administration’s deportations of migrants to the Caribbean country, which has been wracked by assassination attempts, gang violence, and natural catastrophes.

This came after photos of a US border agent on horseback unfurling a whip-like rope at migrants near their tent sparked global anger.

However, pressure is mounting on US President Joe Biden to tighten the border, and Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) is relocating refugees to the southern Mexican city of Tapachula to file asylum claims.

“We’re not taking them out of the country,” INM chief Francisco Garduno told Reuters. “We’re bringing them away from the border so there are no hygiene and overcrowding problems.”

Haitians who made the perilous, costly journey from Guatemala to Ciudad Acuna on the Mexico-U.S. border are skeptical about the merits of going back to a city where they had already unsuccessfully tried to process asylum claims.

Willy Jean, who spent two fruitless months in Tapachula, said if Mexico really wanted to help the migrants, it should allow them to make their applications elsewhere.

“Tapachula’s really tough, really small, there’s lots of people,” he told an INM agent trying to persuade him to go south. “There’s no work, there’s nothing.”

  • Reuters