Migrants demand safe-passage permits during new rally in southeastern Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico, Feb 8 (EFE).- Around 300 migrants took to the streets of this city on the Mexican-Guatemalan border on Tuesday, calling on the National Institute of Migration to release undocumented people arrested in raids in recent weeks and demanding permits that will allow them to move freely about the country.

The demonstrators chanted “we want visas, we want visas!” during this latest demonstration, which began at a public park where a group of migrants have staged a six-day hunger strike to pressure immigration authorities.

Honduran Miguel Fuentes told Efe the peaceful rally was held to denounce the “repression and confinement” he and his fellow migrants have been subjected to at the hands of immigration officials.

He said migrants have not been allowed to advance further into Mexican territory even though they have spent weeks, and in some cases months, stranded in Tapachula.

Shouting “corruption is migration, corruption is migration,” hundreds of undocumented foreigners demanded that authorities grant them safe-passage permits or a humanitarian visa.

The migrants have held marches, protests and even hunger strikes over the past eight days to denounce immigration raids and demand safe-passage permits.

Jonathan Fuentes, a Guatemalan migrant who marched in chains along with a score of other protesters, said undocumented foreigners are being “enslaved” in Tapachula and only want their freedom.

“We didn’t come here to stay. We want to keep going for a better future, to give our families the best. We don’t have work here or any support,” the young man said.

Two migrants – a man and a woman – fainted during the demonstration after walking for nearly a half hour in high temperatures that exceeded 36 C (97 F).

The protesters marched to the Siglo XXI “migration station,” where they said an additional goal was to secure the release of dozens of people arrested in raids in recent days.

Dozens of security forces were standing guard outside the detention center when the demonstrators arrived.

The region is experiencing a record flow of migrants trying to make their way to the United States, whose Customs and Border Protection agency said a record 1.7 million undocumented migrants were encountered trying to enter the country illegally in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2021.

Mexico deported more than 114,000 undocumented migrants in 2021, according to the Government Secretariat’s Migration Policy Unit.

The Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid (Comar), meanwhile, received a record 131,448 asylum applications in 2021, including more than 51,000 filed by Haitian migrants. EFE


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