Saturday, July 20, 2024

Nearly 1.4 million undocumented migrants detected in Mexico so far this year

In the first five months of the year, almost 1.4 million undocumented foreigners were detected traveling in Mexico without entry authorization, the National Immigration Institute (INM) said Sunday.

The INM said in a statement that “through various immigration verification actions” between January and May, it located and “rescued” just over 1.39 million “foreign persons traveling through the country in an irregular condition.”

The figure is almost double the number of encounters authorities had with undocumented foreigners in Mexico in all of last year, according to data from the International Organization for Migration. In turn, the 2023 statistics showed a 77% increase in such encounters compared to 2022.

Most migrants who enter Mexico in an irregular fashion do so at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala before attempting to make the long, arduous and dangerous journey through the country to the northern border to enter the United States, either legally or illegally.

According to the INM, citizens from 177 countries — or around 90% of the world’s nations — were detected traveling irregularly through Mexico in the first five months of 2024. It said that those people came from “the five continents” of the world,” but the majority left other countries in the Americas.

The data shows that more than 377,000 of the 1.39 million irregular migrants detected between January and May, or 27%, came to Mexico from Venezuela, a country where citizens “suffer repression and a humanitarian crisis,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Men, women and children wave to the camera from atop the cars of a freight train.
A group of mostly Venezuelan migrants rides a freight train through Zacatecas in September 2023. (Adolfo Vladimir/Cuartoscuro)

The next biggest cohorts of irregular migrants came from:

  • Guatemala (209,540)
  • Honduras (144,499)
  • Ecuador (136,699)
  • Haiti (107,432)
  • Colombia (70,371)
  • El Salvador (52,636)
  • Nicaragua (45,364)
  • Peru (28,167)
  • Cuba (27,404)

Beyond the Western Hemisphere, the largest source countries for irregular migrants to Mexico so far this year were Senegal (20,847); Guinea (19,922); China (13,780); Mauritania (9,757); India (8,914); and Angola (7,037).

The INM also said that more than 738,000 of the irregular migrants detected in the first five months of the year, or 53% of the total, were men traveling on their own.

Just under 363,000 were unaccompanied women, while the remainder were migrants traveling with other family members. Among the latter cohort were 154,291 adults and 135,151 children.

The INM said it took unaccompanied adult foreigners to “immigration stations,” or detention centers, while families went to facilities operated by the DIF family services agency. It didn’t say how many of those people Mexico deported to their countries of origin.

“The INM works and conducts itself with adherence to current migration laws and within the framework of unconditional respect for the human rights of migrants traveling through our country. Upon being rescued, they cease to be exposed to criminal groups and migrant traffickers,” the institute’s statement concluded.

Foreigners wait in line with paperwork at the Tapachula office of the INM, near the border between Mexico and Guatemala.
Migrants wait in line with paperwork at the Tapachula office of the INM, near the Guatemalan border. (Damián Sánchez Jesús/Cuarotscuro)

In addition to sending migrants to detention centers, Mexican immigration authorities “round them up across the country and dump them in the southern Mexican cities of Villahermosa and Tapachula,” the Associated Press reported last week

“Some have been punted back as many as six times,” the news agency added.

Migration to the United States via Mexico has increased significantly during the presidential terms of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and Joe Biden in the United States.

U.S Customs and Border Protection encountered a record high of almost 2.5 million migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2023, which ended in September.

Earlier this month, Biden issued an executive order that prevents migrants from making asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border at times when crossings between legal ports of entry surge.

The New York Times described the order as “the most restrictive border policy instituted by Mr. Biden, or any other modern Democrat,” while the office of Mike Johnson, Republican speaker of the United States House of Representatives, said it was an “election-year border charade.”

Mexico News Daily 

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