Tapachula, Mexico, Aug 2 (EFE).- Activists from A Friendly Hand in the Fight Against AIDS (UMA) and LGBTI migrants on Wednesday complained that during their stay on Mexico’s southern border waiting to move northward they have been facing violence, stigmatization, discrimination and harassment both from Mexican citizens and authorities.
UMA president Rossemberg Lopez Samayoa told EFE that migrants are in a vulnerable situation, quite apart from the fact that many do not have the confidence to say whether they are living with HIV because some subsequently have been rejected in obtaining services merely because they are suffering from AIDS.
Salvadoran migrant Ulises Bonilla works at a bar in downtown Tapachula on the Mexico-Guatemala border and said that he and other members of the LGBTI community regularly must contend with homophobia and dangers such as rape and kidnapping.
Nevertheless, they have been managing to obtain medical attention from non-governmental organizations.
“(Getting) a job’s more difficult for us. If we don’t have a visa or residency, we can’t work, only if we’re with a program that guides us to get ahead. Otherwise, we’re fired by the companies or they reject” our applications for employment, he said.
Lopez Samayoa said that in 2022 his organization provided services to nearly 4,600 people, of whom 54 percent were from the LGBTI community.
“Most of the people we serve are those who intend to keep traveling, but they’ve stayed here because of the immigration issues they have to deal with to obtain a transit document,” he said.
The situation is a reflection of the scenario on Mexico’s southern and northern since the May 11 expiration of US Title 42, a measure that had been used to immediately expel undocumented migrants as potential coronavirus carriers and now has been replaced with Title 8 and increased restrictions on being granted legal asylum.
The number of migrants crossing Mexican territory en route to the US is increasing again despite an initial fall-off after Title 42 lapsed, a situation noted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico in June.
“The flow of people who come to apply is pretty heavy. Now it’s very constant, but generally now Cubans (and) Hondurans stay (in Mexico) up to six months after the (inception of the) new (US) immigration policy,” the UMA president said.
Gerson David, originally from Honduras, said that discrimination is violent in his homeland, and when gangs see two people of the same sex holding hands the next day their dead bodies are found in plastic bags.
“The saddest thing is to cross the border between Guatemala and Mexico. There, we’re robbed, assaulted, deceived. There are groups armed with machetes (and) pistols and we experience complicated situations,” he said.
“When we get there, they take away our clothes, shoes and (our) money,” he added.