Officials say high numbers of asylum applications are pushing Mexico to breaking point

By Kendal Blust
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 9:36pm
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The number of asylum applications in Mexico remains at an all-time high, and authorities say the country’s asylum system cannot handle the number of petitions it receives.

Some 118,500 people petitioned for asylum in Mexico last year — making it the country with the third highest number of asylum applications globally after the United States and Germany. Those applications came from asylum seekers from 118 countries and, for the first time, every continent.

But Andres Ramirez, head of Mexico’s refugee commission, says the agency is reaching a breaking point.

At a news conference this week, he said officials are cracking down on so-called “abuses” of the system — including people who apply for asylum in Mexico despite planning to travel to the United States.

Human rights groups, however, say it's the asylum seekers who face abuse in Mexico, both by authorities and criminal groups. Mexico's backlogged and under-resourced has also led to prolonged delays, leaving many waiting in inhumane conditions in southern Mexico.

The number of asylum petitions in Mexico started to rise dramatically in 2019, and Mexico reached an all-time high in asylum applications in 2021, with some 130,000 people asking for refuge in the country. People from Honduras, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela top the list of those seeking asylum in Mexico.

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