Mexican immigration chief visits northern border amid migration crisis

Mexico City, Sep 23 (EFE).- The head of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute (INM), Francisco Garduño, visited Ciudad Acuña in the northern state of Coahuila to evaluate the immigration crisis in which the region is mired, due mostly to up to thousands of Haitians who are trying to enter the United States.

According to an INM bulletin, Garduño on Wednesday went to Ciudad Acuña to coordinate the efforts to provide various kinds of aid and attention to the foreign migrants who are currently massing in the border region.

He said that the Mexican government is committed to respecting and safeguarding the rights of migrants but also to complying with prevailing law, and he added that he will review the situation of Haitian nationals in Mexico.

During a tour of a park where Haitians are camping, Garduño commented to the media that, via an ongoing dialogue process established with representatives of the Haitian government, efforts are being coordinated to take care of the migrants.

The INM chief said that the law sets forth that anyone entering Mexico and requesting refuge must follow the proper procedures, specifically in the location where the request was made.

In other words, a migrant requesting refuge may not do so at one site in Mexico but then travel elsewhere before the request is properly processed and decided upon by immigration authorities.

“That is why air and ground transportation will be provided that will allow the migrants to return to the (Mexican) states where they (arrived) to continue with their procedures,” he said, and so that they can receive support for safely returning to their countries of origin if their refugee applications are denied.

He said that in Ciudad Acuña on Wednesday there were 500-600 Haitians, while on the US side of the border there were about 3,300, although that figure varies from day to day.

Garduño emphasized that Mexico “has never been a country of open borders,” giving as an example “although it is not similar” that even “in heaven there is immigration control.”

When questioned about the problematic situation, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday urged that the root causes of migration be addressed and, concerning Haiti, he acknowledged that the situation in that country is very fragile, thus making it difficult to distribute humanitarian aid to the people there.

The president said that in the coming days Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard will discuss the matter with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

For months, the region has been dealing with an historic migrant flow, with 147,000 undocumented migrants being detected in Mexico between January and August, triple the number for all of 2020, and a record of 212,000 undocumented foreigners being detained in July alone by US Customs and Border Protection authorities.

The situation in northern Mexico has gotten worse in recent days with the arrival of migrants, mostly Haitians, who managed to circumvent Mexican government operations to halt them in the southeastern state of Chiapas.

Estimates are that in recent days about 13,000 migrants have arrived in the border region, have been intercepted by US immigration authorities and are being housed in an improvised camp under the international bridge over the Rio Grande that links Del Rio, Texas, with Ciudad Acuña.

On Wednesday, Mexican authorities reported the “rescue” or interception of more than 63,000 migrants in the month of August.

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