Mexico City/New York, NY, December 13, 2018—Current and proposed policies to severely restrict the ability to seek asylum in the United States, along with the US government’s unwillingness to quickly process migrants at ports of entry along the US-Mexico border, have created an administrative limbo that leaves Central American asylum seekers in Mexico exposed to further violence, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Thursday.
In Mexico, MSF provides humanitarian assistance to people escaping horrific levels of violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Many have survived the murder of family members, kidnapping, recruitment by armed groups, extortion, and sexual violence. Many of them fear death and violence if they are forced to return home.
"Although the US government’s proposed asylum ban is temporarily on hold, many of our Central American patients tell us they are avoiding crossing the border,” said Sergio Martín, head of mission of MSF in Mexico. “They fear that once they reach the US they won’t be able to apply for asylum, and will end up deported to countries where their lives are at risk.”
The vast majority of Central Americans who are traveling through Mexico are fleeing violence, extortion, and forced recruitment at the hands of criminal organizations and gangs in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. During their transit north through Mexico, many are exposed to further dangers—including assaults, extortion, sexual violence, human trafficking, kidnappings, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and torture by the criminal organizations that control these routes.