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Mexico reports refugee, asylum claims double over two years

Authorities say the number of migrants applying for refugee or asylum status in Mexico has doubled over the last two years, The Associated Press reported

The Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance, referred to as COMAR, said on Monday that 131,448 people filed such applications in Mexico in 2021, an 87 percent increase over the 70,351 claims filed in 2019. 

COMAR said Haitian refugees accounted for the biggest increase in the number of applications, filing 51,000 claims in 2021, much more than the 5,500 claims in 2020. 

Honduran immigrants, who filed most of their asylum claims in Mexico, filed 36,361 applications in 2021, an increase from the 30,082 claims they filed in 2019, according to The AP. 

As reported, nearly 90,000 out of 131,448 claims were filed in Tapachula, a southern Mexico city near the Guatemalan border.

The total number of migrants applications dipped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with about 41,000 filing applications.  

Migrants have also complained about the slow pace of the paperwork processing system at the COMAR offices in Tapachula, which have been overwhelmed by the large number of requests, the AP reported. 

Migrants from neighboring countries rarely sought protection in Mexico in previous years, preferring to make their claims in the U.S. 

The Biden administration has reinstated a “Remain in Mexico” program, a Trump-administration policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in a U.S. immigration court. 

The government also slowed down its asylum process under Title 42, a public health law that allows U.S. officials to expel migrants and families without the opportunity to get asylum, the AP noted.

Tags Mexico Tapachula Title 42 expulsion

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