‘Express deportations’ surge on Mexico’s southern border

Saturday, May 4, 2019
By Paul Martin

ByPatrick Timmons
MAY 4, 2019

TAPACHULA, Mexico, May 3 (UPI) — Government statistics show that Mexico’s deportations of migrants from Central America, Cuba and Haiti surged in April, adding to their despair as they wait for days to obtain immigration documents at the border with Guatemala.

In April, Mexico deported more than 14,000 migrants to their countries of origin. That’s an increase of 3,000, or 24 percent, over March, according to official but unpublished data obtained by Mexican newspaper La Jornada and confirmed by Mexico’s National Migration Institute press office.

In April a year ago,migrants Mexico deported just under 10,000 migrants.

“Maintaining control over our southern border is not a choice — it’s a state obligation,” said Olga Sánchez Cordero, Mexico’s Interior Minister, at a press conference April 23. “If migrants want to enter our country they have to do so in an orderly and regulated manner by registering with us. And they must respect our laws.”

Growing evidence of Mexico’s border enforcement is mounting at the country’s largest migrant detention center in Tapachula, a city in the southern state of Chiapas and a short distance from the Guatemala border.

Hundreds of migrants gather outside each day to wait for their turn to apply for immigration papers. They hope these documents will give them an opportunity to travel through Mexico to the United States.

“If we don’t register with the government, immigration agents can deport us if we try to leave Tapachula,” said Eramel Filsamine, 35, a migrant from Gonaïves, Haiti, who is traveling with his wife and their two 6-month-old twin daughters.

The Filsamine family has been traveling for more than two years. First, they flew from Haiti to Chile, where they spent months waiting for immigration papers in Santiago. When they didn’t obtain documents in Chile, they decided to head north, hoping to make it to the United States.

“I can’t go back to Haiti,” Filsamine said. “The police tried to kill me. So now I have to wait. I’ve been here waiting for an appointment for six days, but I know people who have been waiting even longer.”

Filsamine’s friend, Julien Desting, 32, is from Cap-Haitien and also is waiting for immigration papers outside the detention center. Desting and his wife have two daughters, ages 8 and 4d. Filsamine and Desting did not know each other in Haiti, but met in Chile two years ago.

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