Deaths of migrants seeking to reach the US, on the rise

According to estimates by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), throughout Mexico and, on the border with the United States, 490 migrants have died from January to October of this year; including 16 minors.

Regarding the total since 2015, the figure adds up to 3,111 reports of deceased migrants at the border crossing between Mexico and the United States, which has become the scene of a serious human rights crisis.

Through the Missing Migrants Project, —where the IOM seeks to document cases of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, who have died at the world’s borders or in the migration process to an international destination—, it is estimated that During January and October 2015, there were 194 dead migrants, however, in 10 months of 2021, this figure has reached 490 cases, that is, 152.6% more than six years ago.

Likewise, the data show an upward trend in recent years, since the cases of deaths of migrants in the area for 2016 between January and October was 343; in 2017 with 294 and in 2018 it accounted for 386 cases.

While in 2019, the deaths totaled 398, and although in 2020 migratory movements were affected due to the coronavirus pandemic, the violence they suffered was not like that, since at least 410 migrants died during that period.

Incidents in 2021

IOM emphasizes that people who travel irregularly in this region are exposed to exploitation, violence, extortion, human trafficking, sexual violence, kidnapping and recruitment to form part of organized criminal groups.

The main direct causes of death that have been identified in this area are drowning (77 cases in 2021), especially in the Rio Grande and the surrounding canals, and deaths caused by harsh environmental conditions and lack of shelter, food and water (70).

It was also said that migrants can be victims of vehicular accidents (68), falls from the border wall due to the irregularity of the terrain (16), and violence (38 cases). In addition to those migrants who lost their lives due to illness or lack of access to adequate health care (8).

However, during this year, the cause of death is unknown in more than half of the registered cases (213), “due to the scarce human presence along the borders, the vastness of the territories, and the lands Inhospitable, in many cases the remains of the dead are found long after the deaths have occurred, when it is no longer possible to establish the cause of these.

“It is also tragic that the remains of many people are never recovered and their deaths remain invisible,” says the IOM.

During 2021, registered cases of deaths involve 223 men, 69 women and 198 unidentified people. In addition to 16 girls, boys and adolescents.

Exposed to insecurity

Daniel Berlin from Asylum Access Mexico points out that the situation in the northeast of the country has always been very dangerous for the migrant population, since they are areas where massacres and crimes such as extortion and kidnapping of this sector have been seen.

In the case of the border city of Tijuana, where said organization has a presence, the activist indicated that there are reports of people, including minors, who have been victims of crimes, so, he said, whenever there is insecurity in a locality it affects more the most vulnerable population, such as migrants.

“They are always exposed to being victims of various crimes, as individuals and by organized groups,” he warned.

For his part, Nicolás Fuentes, an activist from the Ciudad Acuña migrant house, regrets that the current immigration situation in Mexico has placed migrants in a situation of constant persecution by the immigration authorities, which adds to all those violence of which they are usually victims along their way.

The activist adds that although organized crime groups are not as active in Ciudad Acuña, migrants do suffer violence from the police, especially extortion.

Caravan advances to Oaxaca

The caravan made up of thousands of migrants left the state of Chiapas yesterday and arrived in Chahuites, Oaxaca, where they spent the night. Today they will resume their route to reach Mexico City.

The migrants left the Azteca community and walked 18 kilometers to the border between the two states; they advanced scattered and in groups of five to 10 people.

This contingent hopes to be able to advance without being detained by the immigration authorities and the National Guard (GN).

This caravan began its journey in Tapachula, Chiapas and they have walked about 250 kilometers since they left on October 23.

Despite the inclemency of the road, in the last two weeks the caravan has had to deal with different crimes; The femicide of a migrant of Haitian origin and the murder of two Cubans as a result of shots by the National Guard against a vehicle containing 13 migrants have been denounced.

On the other hand, Father Heyman Vázquez, parish priest of Huixtla, has denounced the attempted arrest by immigration agents and the GN when transferring migrants to the hospital.

Visitor cards

The National Institute of Migration (INM) affirmed that it provides care and advice to minor migrants, pregnant women, older adults or people with a disease, illness or disability, as well as to those who have a positive refugee response.

The INM said that it plans to grant visitor cards for humanitarian reasons to migrants who face some degree of vulnerability. He recalled that the benefit extends to the relatives of the migrants.

“To facilitate their immigration regularization, the corresponding procedures will be carried out at the INM offices in the states of Campeche, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Querétaro and Morelos. At no time does the immigration authority seek his transfer or return to the city of Tapachula, Chiapas, “he stressed. (Editorial staff and Maritza Pérez)

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