Migrants burst into southern Mexico asylum office demanding papers

TAPACHULA, Mexico — Migrants, mostly from Haiti, burst into an asylum office in southern Mexico on Monday, demanding papers.

Throngs of migrants knocked over metal barricades and rushed into the office in the city of Tapachula, pushing past National Guard officers and police stationed at the office. Some of the migrants were trampled by their colleagues in the rush.

No injuries were reported as authorities successfully persuaded many individuals to depart later on.

The tension comes as asylum claims in Mexico have skyrocketed, reaching over 100,000 so far this year.

Many migrants, including those from Cuba and Honduras, express their frustration as they have been forced to endure lengthy waits, sometimes spanning weeks, for an appointment at the office located in Tapachula, near the Guatemala border.

At the workplace managed by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance, individuals seeking refuge can submit requests for asylum in Mexico. Nevertheless, the majority of them actually plan to utilize these documents as a means to travel to the U.S. border with increased safety and convenience.

Miguel Argoten, a Cuban migrant, expressed that the situation is intricate and overcrowded. He mentioned that the Haitians become desperate, leading them to topple the barricades, which further hampers the process.

Argoten mentioned that he had been waiting for a week in Tapachula to initiate the process of applying for asylum. Lately, the office has been receiving approximately 2,000 daily requests for appointments.

The number of asylum applications in Mexico is set to surpass previous records this year due to the increasing influx of migrants, which is putting significant pressure on the governments of various Latin American countries along the migration path.

Last week, Andrés Ramírez Silva, the director of Mexico’s refugee agency, stated that the quantity of asylum requests his organization receives in the current year might reach 150,000, surpassing the previous record of 129,000 established in 2021.

“I cannot reword”

Last week, a group of migrants became disruptive while waiting and forcefully entered the offices of the agency. As a result, National Guard officers were called in to restore order, but faced difficulties in doing so.

Ramírez Silva said Cubans, Haitians and Hondurans have made up about 80% of the asylum applications at the Tapachula office. He said his agency had asked the federal government for more resources to expand its capacity.

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