Mexico Asylum Applications Surge in Post-Trump Era
The number of people applying for asylum in Mexico has soared by more than 150% since Donald Trump was elected US president, according to Mexican data, as more Central American migrants seek to stay rather than take their chances in the United States.
Between November 2016 and March, Mexico’s refugee agency, COMAR, received 5,421 asylum applications, up from 2,148 over the same period in 2015 and 2016, Reuters reported.
The number of detentions along the southwestern US border has fallen about 4% over the same five-month period, as Trump’s tough immigration proposals sent a chill through migrant communities. Just like the vast majority of Mexico’s asylum applicants, many of those detained on the US border come from the violent countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Trump won the November 8 election after vowing to crack down on illegal immigration by deporting millions and building a wall on the US-Mexico border, measures Central American migrants say have scared them into putting their travel plans on ice.
Although experts say it is too early to tell whether the rise in asylum applications is undoubtedly Trump-related, the data suggest more of those migrants are now trying to stay in Mexico.
“The views that people have about a political change; they definitely impact everyone’s consciousness,” said Cinthia Perez, a director at COMAR.
According to US Department of Homeland Security data, the number of Central American parents and children stopped at the US-Mexico border has dropped steadily since Trump’s election victory, to just over 1,000 in March, a 93% fall from December.
Perez said it was not yet fully clear whether the Trump factor was contributing to a rise in asylum applications that stretches back several years. But she said it was a possibility the agency would need to study further by asking applicants more Trump-focused questions.