A new report finds a surge in Haitian migrants seeking asylum, refugee status, and other protections at Mexico’s southern border. According to the Associated Press, Mexican officials have told migrants they are unable to leave the city of Tapachula without proper travel documents or a humanitarian visa that allows them to freely travel through the country.
Mexico’s Interior Ministry estimates almost 130,000 migrants, half of them Haitian, will have applied for some type of protection by the end of the year. Many of the migrants have endured journeys that can last years, several with the goal of making it to the United States, and according to the report, some believe the Mexican treatment of the migrants aligns with the U.S. agenda.
In September, a photo of a Haitian migrant being attacked with a whip by a Border Control agent on horseback at the U.S. border went viral and highlighted the inhumane treatment of asylum-seeking refugees. The New York Times reported Mirard Joseph was one of the undocumented immigrants who was seeking asylum but has been deported. Their treatment is now the subject of a federal investigation and a lawsuit was filed against the government on Monday (Dec. 20.)
“It was the most humiliating experience of my life,” said Joseph in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses the government of physical and verbal abuse, inhumane treatment, and denial of due process and alleges that President Joe Biden’s administration knew an influx of migrants was coming but deliberately made no humanitarian preparations. The plaintiffs are also requesting to be allowed back into the United States and remain while they request asylum.
ABC News reported the influx of migrants is not specific to Haitians. The number of migrants taken into U.S. custody along the southern border increased in November after the number steadily decreased for three consecutive months. The border experienced a record number of incoming migrants from Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Single adults were the majority of those taken into custody and were stopped more than 114,000 times and two-thirds were quickly sent back to either Mexico or their native country.