Mexican authorities over the past five weeks have almost completely released government centers for migrants to contain the spread of coronavirus. Most migrants were returned to their countries of origin, according to official figures released on Sunday.
A statement by the National Institute for Migration Issues states that, in line with health and safety recommendations, authorities remove migrants from 65 centers, where 3,759 people were detained in March.
Over the past weeks, Mexico has returned 3,653 migrants to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador by road and air, after which only 106 people remain in the centers.
The Institute noted that the total capacity of centers and shelters under its jurisdiction is 8524 people.
San Clinton State University migration expert Victor Clark Alfaro said the announcement is in line with the willingness of the Mexican government to control the number of migrants under pressure from US President Donald Trump.
“Today, Mexico’s policy is deterrence and deportation,” he said. Dozens of other shelters across the country, run by religious and non-governmental organizations, continue to harbor migrants.
Migrants remained at the centers of the National Institute for Migration, awaiting the results of the examination of asylum applications or court hearings, as well as persons who had previously requested permission to stay, a representative of the migration authorities said.
The vast majority of those expelled from the country are migrants detained by the authorities for illegally staying in Mexico, an official speaking on condition of anonymity said.
Some no longer want to stay in the centers due to the risk of coronavirus infection, the official added.
Most migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the US border come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
More than 80 migrants from Guatemala deported to their homeland from the United States were infected with the coronavirus.
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