African And Caribbean Migrants At The US’ Southern Border

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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Nov. 1, 2019: Often, when one thinks of migrants
trying to enter the US through its Southern border with Mexico, the perception is
often that those immigrants are largely from Mexico and Central America,
especially nations like Honduras and Guatemala.

But that perception is no longer a reality and Mexico’s latest migrant
apprehension numbers prove it. According to latest data from Mexico’s Migration
Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior, over 14,000 migrants from Africa
and the Caribbean were apprehended trying to enter the country illegally.

The data shows that as of August 2019, the latest figures available, 9,551
migrants from the Caribbean were detained in Mexico. That is compared to only
343 during the same eight-month period in 2018. Most were primarily from the
nations of Cuba and Haiti fleeing economic woes in their nations.

Then there are the growing apprehensions of Africans from the African
continent – more than 8,000 flying miles away. During the period January
through August of this year, the apprehension of Africans in Mexico grew more
than ten-fold, from 507 last year to 5,286 migrants this year. Most apprehended
were from Cameroon or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa).

Most of these immigrants are trying to reach
the United States of course and have no intention of settling in Mexico. Africans flew halfway around the world to Brazil, then made the
dangerous journey north through the Darien Gap – a remote, roadless swathe of
jungle – before traversing Central America into Mexico in the hope of finally
reaching the United States to claim asylum because of conflict in their home
nations.

However, based on the US’ tough
immigration policies and its new agreement with Mexico, Mexican authorities have had their hands
full trying to thwart these illegal migration attempts.

In one instance alone, on
Sat. Oct. 12th, some
2,000 migrants from various nations — including Central America, Africa and the
Caribbean – were thwarted attempting to head north from southern Mexico with the hope of
reaching the United States.
They had set off on foot in the pre-dawn hours from the southern Mexican city
of Tapachula.

It
was the first such caravan since early 2019, as Mexico — under pressure from
the Trump administration to curb U.S.-bound migration thorough its territory —
has cracked down on Central Americans and others seeking to reach the United
States.

Most
had been camped out in tents in front of the main immigration detention facility
in the town of Tapachula, in southern Mexico. But on reaching Tapachula, they have
found themselves corralled into a detention centre and told they couldn’t
progress further without a permit that protects them for deportation and allows
them to stay legally. Those permits are scarcer since Mexico agreed in June to
help the Trump administration limit the number of migrants crossing the
US-Mexico border.

The
sad reality is, however, even if they reach the US’s southern border and get to
the front of a long line, Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy means even if they
are hoping to seek asylum in the US they must await their fate in Mexico.

According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, asylum applications in Mexico rose from 2,100 in 2014 to 48,000 for the first eight months of 2019. By the end of 2019, the number of asylum seekers to Mexico is expected to reach 80,000 — that is double compared to figures in 2018. And it seems there is no end in sight for this problem created by Donald Trump and now unloaded on Mexico.

felicia-j-persaud-hard-beat-alt

The
writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow

The post African And Caribbean Migrants At The US’ Southern Border appeared first on Caribbean and Latin America Daily News.

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