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About to start the #RethinkingDevelopment panel on #migration to #Mexico. We will hear from civil society experts on what is happening at Mexico’s southern border, and how migration to and through Mexico has been affected by #COVID19. Still time to join:…
Starting now! A welcome from Giovanni Zanalda, director of @DUCIGS at Duke and faculty co-leader of the #RethinkingDevelopment series along with @sarahbbermeo of @DukeDCID.
Our #RethinkingDevelopment host today is Dr. Piotr Plewa, visiting research scholar at @DUCIGS and expert on #migration. Read his recent post - a snapshot on migration in #LatinAmerica and the #Caribbean #LAC…
Panelist Maureen Meyer (@meyermc) of @WOLA_org is coauthor of this December 2019 report on Mexico’s southern border: “The ‘Wall’ Before the Wall:”…
#RethinkingDevelopment Panelist Alejandra Macias Delgadillo (@AleMacias26) is the Executive Director of @AsylumAccessMX. Read her recent op-ed in @El_Universal_Mx (in Spanish):…
Panelist Ramon Marquez directs La72, a migrant shelter in Tenosique, in Southeast Mexico near the Guatemalan border. He was interviewed about the effects of #COVID19 on the shelter on this piece in @slate back in April.…
"How have migration policies in #Mexico evolved?" MM: AMLO did push to look at root causes and #development aspects that were driving #migration. However the reality on the ground (w/increase of ppl fleeing from central america) and US pressure changed.
MM: the remain in Mexico policy didn't include adequate infrastructure, shelter, housing, education, healthcare to handle the volume of individuals - thousands still waiting for their hearings.
MM: What has changed with the pandemic? Fewer people. Govt's closing borders. Curfews. Limits on public transportation. The conditions still exist but the ability to flee has been curtailed.
MM: The US has also closed borders under Title 42 under guise of protecting public health - even to people seeking asylum, and including children. Concerning for due process. Mexico has agreed to accept (100K+) Central Americans expelled under this policy.
Advocates fear [#COVID19] could be spreading through the centers in #Mexico used to detain undocumented #migrants, but there isn’t enough data. Panelist @alemacias26 quoted in this article via @vice…
AMD: @AsylumAccessMX was started in 2015 with seven offices across the country. Helps refugees access their rights.
AMD: Mexico's legal framework includes the right to seek asylum, including the 1951 Refugee Convention. Mexico's constitution also includes fear of persecution on account of gender (in addition to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group).
AMD: The asylum process in Mexico is supposed to take 45 days. What we see now is that this process is taking more than a year.
AMD: Process requires a weekly signature, which has been suspended due to the pandemic. However refugees also cannot move to new cities or states within Mexico while waiting, severely limiting ability to work.
AMD: @AsylumAccessMX is currently fighting for more than 200 people who are struggling without access to the document required to get employment, education, and healthcare.
AMD: Despite being forbidden by Mexican law, detention of children is common. 15% of ppl detained in 2020 are minors.
AMD: language barriers are an issue, too. Some migrants speak indigenous languages, or are from countries in Africa and Asia and do not speak Spanish.
AMD: There are only 4 offices for COMAR and it is underfunded. Where there is no office they go to INM. But INM officers are not trained to interact with refugees and provide erroneous legal advice. Backlog of 80K petitions.
AMD: Effects of pandemic: economic recession has disproportionately affected migrants, COMAR has suspended time limits leading to longer waits, civil registries are closing and births cannot be registered (so foreign parents to Mexican newborns cannot seek residence)
RM: La72 is based in Tabasco, 13 miles from the Guatemala border. It was founded in 2011, named in honor of the victims of the San Fernando Massacre (…)
RM: Most of the ppl we are receiving in the South are coming from Central America, Haiti, and South America - including ppl fleeing #Venezuela due to political situation. Some from Africa and Asia.
RM: Most enter with irregular status. Not just migrants- also refugee and asylum seekers, and internally-displaced persons.
RM: What is driving it? Extreme #inequality and lack of access to #health and #employment and #education. Plus high rates of #violence, as well as natural disasters that displace people from their homes. It is a humanitarian crisis.
RM: People being received at the shelter are reporting experiencing violence in their journey- assault, kidnapping, sexual violence, and abuse of authority. When we speak out on their behalf, we can see a positive impact.
RM: However, we don't see access to justice. 90% of the reports we file end with total impunity.
RM: Crimes are not being investigated - need more resources to do it. They are short on the basic things - e.g. they are short on gas in order to travel to the crime scene.
RM: Questions we ask - how are we going to provide food, shelter, space? There are men, women, families. Some minors. Some LGBTQ individuals. How are we going help victims? Asylum seekers? How can we accompany the most vulnerable? How can we speak out on human rights violations?
RM: Even with all of these questions and pressures, we are attending to yet another new crisis now. The #COVID19 crisis.
MM: Mexico as a country has less than 1% of the population as foreign-born. It does not have a long history of receiving immigrants. Another challenge is the vulnerability of migrants to criminals- means crime goes up and local population turns against migrants.
Given surge in Mexico as transit, destination: COMAR's budget is too low - we would like to see more money from the Mexican government to fund its asylum system.
Q&A: How does #gender affect migration? Women are certainly vulnerable. Grim fact: many are taking contraception preventatively knowing what is ahead for them on the journey.
Q: What happens if asylee applicant misses the 30-day deadline to obtain protected status? A: they can appeal, but we (at @AsylumAccessMX) are doing strategic litigation to repeal this from the law because we believe #asylum is a right.
Q: What is affect of #climatechange on this situation? A: Yes, we've been receiving migrants who are coming in with issues with land, farming challenges. Tropical storms and hurricanes increasing. We have to get ready for more.
A2: (MM): @WOLA_org and @OxfamAmerica have been looking at how we incorporate climate change in regional discussions.
And that's a wrap! Thank you to everyone for joining us for this #RethinkingDevelopment talk today. We will share the video from today as soon as it's ready. /end
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