Haitian migrants ask Mexican authorities to regularize their status

Mexico City, Jan 13 (EFE).- Several dozen Haitian migrants on Thursday continued protesting for the third day asking Mexican authorities to regularize their immigration situation, a protest that led to a confrontation with police.

“Here in Mexico City we have no work and we have to support our families, but we don’t have documents. We’re protesting until the authorities give us papers,” one of the approximately 30 migrants told the media.

The migrants staged their protest in front of the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (Comar) headquarters and asked to meet with a representative of both that institution and the National Immigration Institute.

The Haitians blocked the entrance to the building and tried to enter it, at which point agents belonging to the Security and Citizen Protection Secretariat intervened.

Tensions mounted as the migrants and police confronted one another, with the Haitians hurling sticks and trash cans at the officers, but the clash soon ceased because Comar personnel assured the migrants that they would be attended to.

The protesters insisted on the urgency of having the authorities deal with their situation, since many of them have been in the Mexican capital for months and have been unable to find work that would enable them to pay their rent or attend to their families’ basic needs.

“We want to live here in Mexico and so we need a temporary (residence) card. We’re asking immigration authorities to resolve our cases. We want legal documents for ourselves,” one of the Haitians said.

About 13,000 irregular migrants, most of them from Haiti, have been stranded since September in an improvised camp under the international bridge linking Del Rio, Texas, with the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuña in Coahuila state.

The Haitians arrived in Mexico via Brazil and Chile after, in August, the US Department of Homeland Security announced the expansion of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, a move that migrant smugglers distorted, thus enticing a number of Haitians to undertake the illegal journey to Mexico hoping ultimately to get to the US, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

Given the difficulties they are facing on Mexico’s northern border, some of the migrants decided to head to Mexico City to try and obtain the proper papers so that they can remain legally in Mexico.

However, so far they are continuing to await a positive response from Mexican authorities.

The region is experiencing a record wave of migrants trying to get to the US, where Customs and Border Protection has detected more than 1.7 million undocumented migrants on the border with Mexico during Fiscal 2021, which ended on Sept. 30, 2021.

Meanwhile, Mexico intercepted more than 252,000 undocumented migrants between January and November 2021 and deported more than 100,000 during the same period, according to the Mexican Government Secretariat’s Immigration Policy Unit.

Comar received a record 131,488 requests for refuge from migrants in 2021.

EFE ia/esc/laa/bp

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