Social Issues

Migrants in southern Mexico hold vigil for 51 who died in Texas

Tapachula, Mexico, Jun 28 (EFE).- Some of the mainly Central American migrants who have found themselves stranded in this city on the Guatemalan border held a vigil Tuesday to honor the 51 immigrants who perished in the back of an overheated tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas.

The director of the Center of Human Dignity, Luis Rey Garcia Villagran, appeared at the gathering with a T-shirt on which he wrote: “the borders cannot continue to be the cemeteries of migrants.”

And he took the opportunity to appeal again to Mexican authorities to issue transit permits to the migrants in Tapachula so they can make their way to the northern border with the United States.

“The migrants flee their countries because there is no other alternative: either you migrate or you die,” the activist said.

A score of the 51 who died in Texas were Mexican nationals. Most of the fatalities – 39 – were male, and that total may include some teenagers.

The tragedy reminded many in Tapachula of a truck crash last December near the Guatemalan border that left nearly 60 migrants dead.

Yeiker Chaparro, an ailing Venezuelan man traveling with his family, said that he and his loved ones can’t obtain visas in Tapachula, they may be faced with a choice between taking a chance on riding in a tractor-trailer or “we dare to walk and they lock us up and mistreat us.”

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) registered a record of more than 1.7 million illegal border crossings in the 2021 fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30.

Since the 2022 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2021, the CBP says that more than 1 million migrants have been intercepted along the US’s southern border.

Mexico, for its part, says it deported more than 114,000 foreigners in 2021, the highest number in nearly 15 years, according to figures from the Migrant Policy Unit.

In the first quarter of 2022, the INM immigration agency processed 77,626 people, an increase of 89 percent over the same period last year. EFE jmb/dr

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