In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mexico will provide refuge to Ukrainians currently in the country, the chief of the National Immigration Institute (INM) said Monday.
Francisco Garduño also said that Russians in Mexico will be offered refuge if they seek to stay here.
During a meeting of the Senate’s border and immigration affairs committee, the INM chief said that Ukrainians currently on vacation in Mexico will initially be granted permission to stay an additional 180 days after the validity of their visitor permit expires.
“We have to give them … 180 renewable days so that they can remain in the country due to conditions of vulnerability and the possible violation of their human rights” if they return to Ukraine, Garduño said, noting that Mexico has a long tradition of granting asylum to people fleeing war or persecution.
He acknowledged that “a lot of Ukrainians” with temporary and permanent residency status already live in Mexico.
Russians who ask for refuge will also be allowed to stay, Garduño said, noting that asylum is granted to a person not a country.
“They will also be processed in consideration of the armed conflict, … given permanent refuge … or refuge, so they are at ease,” he said.
“They can be in this wonderful country that is the home of all of you and which we can share in these kinds of cases,” Garduño told members of the Senate committee.
He noted that INM records show that 9,903 Ukrainians entered the country in January and February, while 1,300 have temporary or permanent residency.
More than 28,000 Russians entered Mexico in the first two months of the year, while just over 3,000 were granted residency between 2020 and 2022, Garduño said.
Mexico has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but has not imposed any sanctions. President López Obrador said Monday that Russian airlines wouldn’t be banned from flying into Mexico, declaring that the borders are open to carriers from all countries.
With reports from El Universal