Mexico seeing increased asylum applications from Central Americans

The number of people applying for asylum in Mexico has soared by more than 150% since Donald Trump was elected US president, as more Central American migrants seek refuge in Mexico rather than take their chances in the United States.

Mexico’s refugee agency (Comar) received 5,421 asylum applications between November 2016 and March, a 150% rise from the same period the previous year.

The number of detentions along the south-western US border has fallen about 4% over the same five-month period, as Trump’s tough immigration proposals sent a chill through neighbouring countries.

Like the vast majority of Mexico’s asylum applicants, many of those detained on the US border come from the violence-plagued “Northern Triangle” of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Meanwhile, the number of Central American families stopped at the US-Mexico border has dropped steadily since Trump’s election victory to just over 1,000 in March – a 93% fall from December, according to Department of Homeland Security data.
Fewer Central Americans appear to be entering Mexico. Just less than 15,000 Central Americans were detained by Mexican immigration agents in the first two months of this year – a 27% drop in detentions from the same period in 2016.

This could be a result of Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric or because people are unable to afford the rising fees demanded by coyotes, or people smugglers in the wake of tighter border controls.
The percentage number is somewhat misleading because so few requested asylum in Mexico before Trump started more vigorous border enforcement efforts.  It will be interesting to see if Mexico's attitude toward migration changes as a result.  Mexico may start more vigorously enforcing its own southern border to stem the migration.


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