TAPACHULA, Mexico — Dozens of migrants from Haiti, Cuba and African nations threw stones and sticks at Mexican National Guard troops and immigration agents Tuesday in the southern city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala. The confrontation took place amid complaints from migrants about the slow processing of asylum, refuge and humanitarian visa applications.
The National Immigration Institute said in a statement that the migrants involved in Tuesday’s protest blocked entrances to an immigration office and insisted they be attended to, ahead of people who already had appointments. A confrontation broke out when officers attempted to make them leave. Around 100 migrants set fire to tires, trash, and blocked the road for several hours. This conflict may increase tensions between local residents and migrants.
Migrants have been complaining for months that the process of gaining temporary legal status was too slow. Many migrants have complained for years that there aren’t enough housing or work for them. They wait in Tapachula for months to get some sort of resolution.
Many have debts in order to move. This makes their lives more difficult as they must still pay rent and food.
Mexico is overflowing with asylum applications in recent years. While some migrants consider staying in Mexico a feasible option, others view it as an opportunity to obtain papers that will allow them to freely transit Mexico and then make their way to America. border.
Tapachula also houses the largest migrant detention centre in Latin America. Official word was not available on Tuesday regarding any injuries sustained in the confrontation.