More than 300 migrants They have gathered in recent days at the immigration offices of the municipality of Tapachula, in southeastern Mexico, to arrange their procedures, suffering from crowds despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Migrants, mostly Haitians and Cubans They have met every day from early hours in the hope of obtaining a card to enter the facilities of the Migration’s national institute (INM), and obtain permits for humanitarian reasons that allow them to continue working legally in the country.
“Hundreds of Cubans are here and we have 100% complied with the procedures, we have not missed any firm, we even had to miss our job because the three absence firms no longer have the right to work here,” he told Efe this Friday. Francisco Luis Manzanero Ortiz.
Julio César Cueto Tirado, director of Civil Protection of Tapachula, He said that they have tried to implement a sanitary filter between them and they are invited to have a distance of at least one and a half meters “but it is very difficult,” he acknowledged.
In fact, they have enabled sinks, they have placed antibacterial gel, in addition to taking temperature and giving face masks to those who stand in long lines to get their visas.
Long waits exacerbate the problem
Obert Choulloutte is a Haitian migrant who has been stranded in this border city for more than three months.
However, he does not have legal documents that allow him to work in Mexico and, therefore, he cannot pay for basic services or food.
He considered that many of those who are in search of the migratory permit in these facilities are unconscious, because they are agglutinated in desperation to get the document.
“I have two months without a job, I came because my country has economic and security problems, however, you get to Mexico without being able to work and doing nothing, we want our documents to work, “he explained.
Other foreigners complain about the long waits they have to endure or about the delays the authorities give them in order to collect their documents.
Cueto Tirado said that despite the recommendations that have been given to people who come to carry out their procedures, even with translators into their different native languages, it has been difficult to maintain order.
“There is no respect for healthy distances, it is because of their culture, most of them are Haitians, many speak Spanish, we have translators in Creole and, despite this, there is resistance to attending sanitary measures,” he lamented.
They put the local community at risk
César Augusto Cañaveral Pérez, coordinator of human mobility for the church of Tapachula, regretted that migrants continue to be a neglected population and denounced that the INM facilities have not put the prudent sanitary fences before a pandemic that already leaves 42,500 infected and some 4,400 dead in the country ..
“This is where they can contract possible infections and spread the coronavirus,” he said.
He asked the authorities to stop the procedures since he considers that this type of agglomerations puts at risk not only the migrants but the local community.
“The Federal Government would have to remove for the moment (the paperwork) while all this pandemic passes,” he said.
The immigration crisis has been a controversial issue since the arrival to the Presidency, on December 1, 2018, of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was very critical of his predecessors in this matter.
However, in 2019 Mexico changed its position in the face of the threat of US President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on all Mexican products and even reached an agreement, which involved the deployment of thousands of members of the National Guard throughout of the country, and especially in the southern region, to control migration.
Earlier this year, on the southern border, on the border with Guatemala, the National Guard and the Mexican immigration authorities stopped the attempt by thousands of Central Americans, in caravan, to cross the country to reach the United States.