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News > U.S.

UN Urges US to Drop Asylum Policy, Migrant Caravans Fracture

  • The first Central American exodus, or migrant caravan, as been traveling thousands of miles for nearly a month.

    The first Central American exodus, or migrant caravan, as been traveling thousands of miles for nearly a month. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 November 2018

The Trump administration has issued a new asylum policy violating an international treaty, according to the United Nations.

The first caravan of migrants fleeing Central American countries splintered Friday when a group left on foot for the border town of Tijuana after a request to the United Nations office for transportation was denied.

Migrant Caravan Presses Forward, Trump Orders Asylum Ban

Others stayed behind, resting in the Jesús Martínez stadium in Mexico City.

According to Mexico City's Human Rights Commission, almost 5,000 Central American immigrants were taking shelter in the Jesus Martinez stadium. Of these, 1,726 are minors and 310 are children under 5 years old. In a press conference Thursday the Commission also said there are 24 pregnant women and 31 minors traveling alone.

On Thursday, a group of migrants requested that the United Nations aid their journey and provide 170 buses to transport them to the U.S. border.

"They need transport to continue traveling," said one of the groups' coordinators, Milton Benitez, who explained the poverty and violence the fleeing migrants will face at home.

Despite the real threats the migrants will face as they encounter harsher weather conditions and cross zones controlled by drug-trafficking cartels in northern Mexico, the U.N. did not provide the buses.

The migrants have insisted that the International Organization of Migration provided buses to Venezuelans who leave their country and that they have the same right.

The organization said that as they do not have refugee status, transportation cannot be provided since they have not adhered to the Mexican government's offer to regularize their immigration status.

A second and third Caravan merged in Matías Romero, Oaxaca, and they left for Sayula de Alemán, Veracruz. A fourth reached the others, but its members will spend the night in Oaxaca.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a statement Friday urging the United States to reconsider the new regulation on asylum announced Friday that requires asylum seekers to enter only through border ports.

“(We expect) all countries, including the United States, to make sure any person in need of refugee protection and humanitarian assistance is able to receive both promptly and without obstruction in accordance with the 1967 refugee Protocol to which the United States is a party,” said spokesperson for UNHCR, Chris Boian.

Boian said many who cross “irregularly” are doing so out of desperation and not to evade border patrol.

“Long-standing insufficient reception capacity at official U.S. southern border ports of entry is resulting in significant delays in northern Mexico and is forcing many vulnerable asylum-seekers to turn in desperation to smugglers,” Boian added.

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