Mexico saw refugee, asylum claims nearly double in 2021

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The number of people applying for refugee or asylum status in Mexico almost doubled between 2019 and 2021, reaching a historic high of over 130,000, authorities said Monday.

While there was a dip in 2020, that was largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In previous years, migrants from other countries had rarely sought protection in Mexico, preferring to make their claims in the United States. But the toughening of border enforcement and the slowdown in U.S. asylum processing has apparently led many to apply for refuge in Mexico.

The Mexican Comission on Refugee Aid, COMAR, said there were 131,448 applications filed in 2021, an 87% increase over the nearly 70,351 filed in 2019. The numbers dipped to around 41,000 in 2020, in part because the coronavirus pandemic made it harder for people to move around or even file applications.

The COMAR said the biggest increase was in the number of applications from Haitians, which grew from 5,500 in 2019 to over 51,000 in 2021.

Hondurans, who in previous years had filed the most claims in Mexico, filed 36,361 applications in 2021, a relatively more modest rise over the 30,082 they filed in 2019.

Almost 90,000 of the131,448 requests for protection were filed in the southern Mexico city of Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.15/week.

Subscribe Today