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.

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

Numerous migrants, including individuals from Cuba and Honduras, express their dissatisfaction as they have experienced lengthy delays in securing appointments at the office located in Tapachula, near the Guatemala border.

At the workplace managed by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance, migrants have the option to submit applications for asylum in Mexico. Nevertheless, the majority of them 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 highly intricate due to the large number of people present. He mentioned that the Haitians become desperate and resort to knocking over barricades, which ultimately hampers the process further.

Argoten said he had been waiting a week in Tapachula to start the asylum application process. The office has been getting about 2,000 appointment requests per day recently.

The number of asylum applications in Mexico is set to surpass previous records this year due to the increasing influx of migrants, which is posing a significant challenge to 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 amount of asylum requests received by his agency this 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 their efforts were largely ineffective.

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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