Mexico - Flow monitoring of migrants in Tapachula and Tenosique, Round 3 (May 2022)

21 Jul 2022 Mexico Download

In May, the month covered by this report, information was gathered through field work consisting of migrant surveys, participant observation, and interviews with government and non-government counterparts. This was complemented by information obtained from written sources.

One event that has contributed to the growing number of migrants arriving in southern Mexico was the announcement in the United States of a potential end to Title 42 by May 23, resulting in many migrants seeking to enter Mexico with the idea of reaching the U.S. border.1 In the city of Tapachula around one thousand migrants showed up at the offices of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR for its Spanish acronym) on May 9th, 10th, and 16th. Given the huge demand for services, many who were seeking to file for refugee status spent the night outside the COMAR office in order to be attended first thing the following day, but according to them they were arrested by migratory authorities under the premise that overnighting in public spaces was not permitted.

Shelters such as the Belen and the Jesus el Buen Pastor, which constitute the first line of reception for those without a place to spend the night, reported being oversaturated and having to operate in crowded conditions with immediate needs such as food, mattresses, bed sheets, and articles of personal hygiene. In the face of Tapachula’s obvious need for shelters, the Center for Migrant Support and Orientation (Centro de Apoyo y Orientación para Migrantes), a shelter coordinated by the religious association “Una Luz en el Camino Sin Fronteras A.C.”, the National Institute of Immigration (INM for its Spanish acronym), and the Universidad Instituto de Formación Académica del Centro y Sureste A.C., was reopened on May 19th.

Migrants who have been in Tapachula for several months are still trying to obtain documents that will allow them to travel through Mexico with a regularized status. During the first half of May large group departures to other cities were still being organized to ask authorities there for speedier processing of Visitor Cards for Humanitarian Reasons (TVRH for its Spanish acronym), since the migrants claimed they had been waiting months without a response from the authorities in Tapachula. Some of the migrant demonstrations have earned the attention of the INM, which has provided buses for taking migrants to cities such as Tuxtla Gutiérrez where they can continue with their applications. Others have been broken up by local residents demanding free circulation on the roads being blocked by crowds. So far in 2022 there have been seven mass departures organized by migrants. According to COMAR data, by the end of May a total of 32,858 applications for refugee status had been received in Tapachula alone, accounting for 67 per cent of all applications nationwide.2

A growing number of migrants from Central America and the Caribbean was also detected in Tenosique. These flows consisted to a large extent of families with children and adolescents. Unlike Tapachula, Tenosique has only one shelter, La 72, which is not enough to accommodate the daily arrival of migrants to this city. Migrants must wait until shelter space becomes available in order to enter and meanwhile settle in the shelter’s immediate vicinity.

In May there were reported incidents of discrimination and harassment among the migrants outside the La 72 shelter awaiting their turn to enter. As a result, some groups of migrants have chosen not to use the shelter and to spend the night in neighboring public spaces.

Added to the need for accommodations is the issue of transportation, which is extensively researched by migrants. It was found that the migrant population, primarily from Central America, need information on available transportation. Some mentioned taking the Tenosique route in order to board the train that ran through southern Mexico, but they hadn’t known that the train had stopped running years ago. Migrant women from Central America tend to seek information on bus routes to Monterrey, Nuevo León, along with bus schedules and fares. Migrants from Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela tend to look for transportation to Mexico City and Tijuana.

Given the necessity for money to cover essential needs and continue along planned migratory routes, the job searching takes on a fundamental role. Young migrant men tend to seek masonry jobs, jobs loading and unloading trucks carrying a variety of merchandise, and jobs as farmers in the city’s vicinities. Children and adolescents also try to obtain an income by begging for money from drivers of cars stopped at stoplights in the city, mostly in the mornings. One of the requests made of the municipal authorities by migrants has been for courses and training in occupations that would help them expand their job skills and improve their possibilities of joining the labor market.

In May, the month covered by this report, information was gathered through field work consisting of migrant surveys, participant observation, and interviews with government and non-government counterparts. This was complemented by information obtained from written sources.

One event that has contributed to the growing number of migrants arriving in southern Mexico was the announcement in the United States of a potential end to Title 42 by May 23, resulting in many migrants seeking to enter Mexico with the idea of reaching the U.S. border.1 In the city of Tapachula around one thousand migrants showed up at the offices of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR for its Spanish acronym) on May 9th, 10th, and 16th. Given the huge demand for services, many who were seeking to file for refugee status spent the night outside the COMAR office in order to be attended first thing the following day, but according to them they were arrested by migratory authorities under the premise that overnighting in public spaces was not permitted.

Shelters such as the Belen and the Jesus el Buen Pastor, which constitute the first line of reception for those without a place to spend the night, reported being oversaturated and having to operate in crowded conditions with immediate needs such as food, mattresses, bed sheets, and articles of personal hygiene. In the face of Tapachula’s obvious need for shelters, the Center for Migrant Support and Orientation (Centro de Apoyo y Orientación para Migrantes), a shelter coordinated by the religious association “Una Luz en el Camino Sin Fronteras A.C.”, the National Institute of Immigration (INM for its Spanish acronym), and the Universidad Instituto de Formación Académica del Centro y Sureste A.C., was reopened on May 19th.

Migrants who have been in Tapachula for several months are still trying to obtain documents that will allow them to travel through Mexico with a regularized status. During the first half of May large group departures to other cities were still being organized to ask authorities there for speedier processing of Visitor Cards for Humanitarian Reasons (TVRH for its Spanish acronym), since the migrants claimed they had been waiting months without a response from the authorities in Tapachula. Some of the migrant demonstrations have earned the attention of the INM, which has provided buses for taking migrants to cities such as Tuxtla Gutiérrez where they can continue with their applications. Others have been broken up by local residents demanding free circulation on the roads being blocked by crowds. So far in 2022 there have been seven mass departures organized by migrants. According to COMAR data, by the end of May a total of 32,858 applications for refugee status had been received in Tapachula alone, accounting for 67 per cent of all applications nationwide.2

A growing number of migrants from Central America and the Caribbean was also detected in Tenosique. These flows consisted to a large extent of families with children and adolescents. Unlike Tapachula, Tenosique has only one shelter, La 72, which is not enough to accommodate the daily arrival of migrants to this city. Migrants must wait until shelter space becomes available in order to enter and meanwhile settle in the shelter’s immediate vicinity.

In May there were reported incidents of discrimination and harassment among the migrants outside the La 72 shelter awaiting their turn to enter. As a result, some groups of migrants have chosen not to use the shelter and to spend the night in neighboring public spaces.

Added to the need for accommodations is the issue of transportation, which is extensively researched by migrants. It was found that the migrant population, primarily from Central America, need information on available transportation. Some mentioned taking the Tenosique route in order to board the train that ran through southern Mexico, but they hadn’t known that the train had stopped running years ago. Migrant women from Central America tend to seek information on bus routes to Monterrey, Nuevo León, along with bus schedules and fares. Migrants from Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela tend to look for transportation to Mexico City and Tijuana.

Given the necessity for money to cover essential needs and continue along planned migratory routes, the job searching takes on a fundamental role. Young migrant men tend to seek masonry jobs, jobs loading and unloading trucks carrying a variety of merchandise, and jobs as farmers in the city’s vicinities. Children and adolescents also try to obtain an income by begging for money from drivers of cars stopped at stoplights in the city, mostly in the mornings. One of the requests made of the municipal authorities by migrants has been for courses and training in occupations that would help them expand their job skills and improve their possibilities of joining the labor market.

Contact

Laura Canché, lcanche@iom.int; Karla Picado, kpicado@iom.int