Around 3,300 people who have entered Mexico in caravans since October are currently seeking asylum in the country as many flee violence and persecution, according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
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Many who are part of a mass exodus from Central American countries are in need of humanitarian assistance, including children, newborns, pregnant women, elderly people, and people with disabilities, who have been suffering physical and mental distress, health issues, and exhaustion, the agency warned.
The Mexican government has reported that around 8,250 people have entered the country Since Oct. 19 when the first caravan arrived in Mexico. Organizers of the Central American Exodus have given higher estimates of around 11,200 people.
According to Doctors Without Borders, each year 500,000 people flee poverty and extreme violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, where they say “high levels of violence in the region, known as the Northern Triangle of Central America, are comparable to that in war zones.”
However, the organization says that the situation is not treated appropriately by the United States administration nor the Mexican government, where many go to seek asylum.
“Despite the catastrophic conditions in the region, the U.S. and Mexico generally treat people from the Northern Triangle as economic migrants, and have focused efforts on detention and deportation rather than on providing protection and support.”
The United States is legally obliged to receive asylum seekers but, just as it did last May, the Trump administration is using extreme measures to prevent asylum requests from being filed. The president insists that the caravan is made up of “criminals” and has threatened to “shut down” the over 3,000 km border with Mexico until the U.S. can get the situation “under control.”
Around 100 migrant children, who were separated from their families by U.S. immigration authorities when crossing the border without documents earlier this year, won’t be reunited with their families, the Federal government reported.
While the exodus has been referred to largely as “migrant caravans,” the U.N. agency says the term is no longer accurate. The majority of people who have traveled together for safety and security are now in the border town of Tijuana, though other groups are currently staying in Tapachula, Chiapas, and Mexico City.