After Five Months in Tapachula, Mexico for a Safe-Conduct, a Cuban from Cienfuegos Despairs

According to Comar figures, in June 1,093 Cubans applied for asylum. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 5 July 2022 — José Luis has been in the city of Tapachula, Mexico, in the border state of Chiapas with Guatemala, for almost five months. On February 11, he went his appointment at the delegation of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar) to request refugee status. “They gave me an appointment for April 16 and it’s already July and they haven’t given me anything,” this Cuban from Cienfuegos told 14ymedio.

The term to announce the result of the request should be 55 business days. “There are 45 business days to make a decision, plus 10 days to inform you of the result.” But in the case of José Luis, it was extended another 45 days, due to the increase in requests.

A source from the commission admits that they have been overwhelmed by the number of migrants. “In 16 days, from June 2 to 18, 3,350 people requested appointments to be seen by Comar. More than three quarters are single adults, most of them men.” At the end of that month, 1,093 Cubans seeking asylum were counted.

According to Comar’s figures, 58,642 people applied for refuge in Mexico during the first half of 2022, which means an increase of almost 15% compared to the same period in 2021. Of these, 10,791 are from the Island.

The official warned that they do not have an exact figure for the total number of migrants. “There are groups on the move, others that stay, others that decide to start the refugee process in Tapachula, for example, but, because of the time it takes, they abandon it and start it somewhere else. Most use this procedure to avoid being detained and deported and take the opportunity to advance towards the border with the United States.”

The monthly report indicates that Hondurans have submitted 13,750 refugee applications, Haitians (8,230), Venezuelans (7,196), Nicaraguans (4,616), Salvadorans (3,373), Guatemalans (2,176), Brazilians (1,411), Colombians (1,168 ) and Senegalese (985).

During his time in Tapachula, José Luis has come to feel desperate due to the lack of money and the harassment of the Immigration agents who carry out tours of the ‘kennels’ (vans). A hostel owner offered to let him help with the cleaning in exchange for “food and a place to spend the night.”

José Luis entered Mexico on February 11 through Ciudad Hidalgo (Chiapas), in a group that has been advancing according to its chances. On the Island, he left behind his wife and a three-year-old girl. “I would have wanted to bring them with me, but the money was lacking. A cousin who is in Texas financed me with $5,000 to leave. I’m not lying to you, for a Cuban that’s a lot.”

In all of 2021, Mexico received a record of more than 130,000 asylum applications, according to Comar.

The region is experiencing a migratory flow to the United States, where the Customs and Border Protection Office detected more than 1.7 million undocumented immigrants on the border with Mexico in fiscal year 2021, which ended on September 30.

Mexico deported more than 114,000 foreigners in 2021, according to data from the Migration Policy Unit, figures not seen in almost 15 years.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.