US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Haitian migrants on Friday that they would not be able to reach the United States, while his Mexican counterpart lamented that many had been tricked into going through the long journey with false hopes.
The top US diplomat visited Mexico to present a new joint security plan and to improve relations with an ally by the Biden administration to act as a buffer and stop the flow of migrants to the United States.
“The trip is extremely dangerous and it will not be successful,” Blinken told a news conference in the Mexican capital. Blinken said US and Mexican officials are in “close contact” over a jump in Haitian migrants passing through Mexico, many having traveled from South America where they initially settled. In recent weeks, a border camp in Del Rio, Texas, at one point increased to 14,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti.
The United States has since expelled several thousand people to Haiti, allowing others to escalate US migration cases, while Mexico also recently launched flights to send people back to Haiti. . Migrant rights groups have condemned the deportation to Haiti, which is plagued by violence, poverty and political turmoil.
“The deportation to Haiti was not the right approach, not humane,” the United Nations’ top refugee official Filippo Grandi said on Friday, adding that the United States and Mexico had sometimes deported people “without due process”.
“Speaking with Blinken, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that many Haitian immigrants trekking from South America to the border were tricked into thinking they could easily obtain legal residency in the United States.
For the thousands now in Mexico, he said the country could take them in and offer asylum. “If 15,000 people come from Haiti, they want to work, they want to live here, it’s not a problem for Mexico,” Ebrard said, although finding job opportunities “wasn’t easy.
“Mexico’s asylum agency has been strained by a growing number of requests from Haitians, many of whom are unlikely to be granted refugee status because they have left Haiti for economic reasons. Mexico has managed the influx of Central Americans in 2019. Visas were distributed to travel and travel freely, but were halted after then-US President Donald Trump threatened trade tariffs if Mexico did not curb the flow of people reaching the border.
Ebrard said he and Blinken did not discuss “remaining in Mexico” one of Trump’s staunch migration policies by asylum advocates that his successor, Biden, is trying to end. The policy forces asylum seekers to cross the US-Mexican border to wait in Mexico for their court cases.