Migrants in Mexico Before the New Agreement With the U.S.: ‘If There Is Work It Is for Making Money To Cross’

At least 1,500 migrants, including several Cubans, are stranded in Chiapas. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, 1 August 2023 — The “multipurpose international space” agreed between Mexico and the U.S. will be in the state of Chiapas and will offer “refuge, employment and training,” but it will take time to get underway.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador does not know where that space will be located specifically, but he promised to give more details “in two or three months.” His country will offer, the president confirmed, a space for new asylum options and work visas to migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti, in addition to support through “mobile consulates (from the U.S.) for those who have not done their paperwork.”

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs will travel this week to Chiapas to initiate the plan that so far has assured that 40 million dollars will be provided by the U.S. Government with the participation of the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR).

The Government of Mexico foresees the arrival of 31,000 people in the U.S., who will join the 177,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who have entered with humanitarian permits so far this year.  In Chiapas, more than 1,500 migrants, several Cubans among them, remain stranded, waiting for the buses offered by the National Institute of Migration to continue their journey and achieve the American dream.

Although some feel optimistic about the possibility of getting a job, they do not want to stay in Mexico. Adamaris López, a Venezuelan who arrived a month and a half ago with her partner in Tapachula, tells 14ymedio that her future is in the U.S. “There is a lot of insecurity here, poorly paid jobs, discrimination. If there is work, it is for making money to cross, when the process is complete.”

Lawyer and migrant advocate José Luis Pérez Jiménez sees the program as a palliative for U.S. politics. “Chiapas is going to become an obstacle for migrants. In addition, where will the investment to create this center come from? A minimum of 800 million dollars is needed, and they have 40.”

Pérez Jiménez admits that despite the decrease in the transit of migrants through Chiapas, on average between 2,000 and 2,500 undocumented people per day cross into Mexico. “With this announcement, more arrivals are already planned, because people listen and read that there is already an agreement, but we do not know if it will be built, if they will simply adapt a space or if there are figures of how many people are expected to benefit.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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