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‘I don’t feel safe’: Migrants face threats and attacks in Mexico | News on children’s rights

“Every time I see a girl suffering here, I feel like my throat is choking. I cried all night ”.

That’s how a mother from Honduras described her life in Piedras Negras, a Mexican city across the border with the US state of Texas, after she was deported from the United States last month along with her daughters two and seven years old and others. her family members. Members of a gang she testified in Honduras tracked her to Mexico, she said, sparking fears of violence.

A family from El Salvador who was attacked in Mexico by a gang threatening to kill them back home, was also brought back from the US-Mexico border to Tijuana in February. “I don’t feel safe. I am scare. It’s a dangerous place, ”said the father, who recently witnessed a kidnapping while waiting for a bus.

A 14-year-old boy from Cuba, deported to Mexico from the US in February with his grandmother, was so scared and worried about being kidnapped by smugglers, he started chewing on his nails. me. “Please tell the president to have mercy on us,” his grandmother said.

These are just some of the stories shared in one report, released this week by three U.S.-based human rights groups, detailing the experiences of migrants and asylum seekers stranded on the U.S.-Mexico border or deported from The United States follows a Trump-era policy titled Title 42.

“Title 42 continues to be asserted because a public health measure is causing serious difficulties,” said Nicole Ramos, the director of the border rights project at Al Otro Lado, a legal and humanitarian support group. important.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Ramos said volunteers are getting more and more reports that migrants and asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico, have been hit by organized crime groups. kidnapping and ransom.

“Our staff received videos of asylum seekers with guns pointed in the heads; Children were kept on the mouths of barking dogs – all threatened that if their family did not pay … they would be killed and their organs dispersed, never restored or identity, ”she said.

492 attacks since the end of January

First called by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Title 42 allows US authorities rapid deportation of most migrants people coming to the United States border on public health reasons.

While President Joe Biden no longer uses Title 42 to deport unaccompanied minors to the border, most families and single adults are being sent back to Mexico or to their home country. surname. Later more than 172,000 people were arrested at the US administration’s border last month, more than 103,000 people were deported under Title 42, according to the US border agency. the data.

Administration Biden officials defended US policies at the border with Mexico, says it is rebuilding a refugee system that Trump has demolished and expanding federal resources to deal with more unaccompanied minors.

Biden has also pledged to help address the “root cause” of migration from southern Mexico and Central America, where most asylum seekers come from.

But third report, titled Failure to protect, and published by Al Otro Lado, Human Rights First, and Haiti Bridge Alliance, urges authorities to completely cancel Title 42, which these groups claim causes migrants and asylum seekers are in serious danger.

A family takes a break after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico in La Joya, Texas, on April 7 [File: Go Nakamura/Reuters]

The report found migrants from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were deported under Title 42, along with Haitians, Ethiopians, Ghana, Nigeria and Yemen, among many others. others.

As of Jan. 21, the day after Biden was inaugurated, at least 492 reports of violent attacks on people trapped at the US-Mexico border or deported from Mexico from the US have been reported. report.

“Asylum seekers returning to Mexico are being kidnapped, raped and assaulted,” said Kennji Kizuka, deputy director of research and analysis on refugee protection at Human Rights First.

The report also found that black migrants and refugees, as well as members of the LGBTQ community, are particularly at risk of violence.

“Many asylum seekers afraid of waiting longer in Mexico have been injured trying to cross the border from the ports of entry to claim protection. Some were killed in these crossings, ”said Kizuka.

Crowded shelter

The report comes after the United Nations Child Rights Agency (UNICEF) reports that Mexico has seen a large increase in the number of migrant children so far this year, from 380 to about 3,500 since the beginning of the year.

About half of the children do not have a parent, while many live in cramped shelters, the human rights group said.

Jean Gough, UNICEF’s Latin America and Caribbean Regional Director, said: “Most of the shelters I visit in Mexico are overcrowded and unable to accommodate children and families. More and more people were migrating north.

“We are deeply concerned that the living conditions of migrant children and mothers in Mexico could worsen sooner.”

On Wednesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government plans to consolidate the southern border in response to the increase in migrants, Reuters news agency reported.

Mexico also intends to open more shelters, Mr. Lopez Obrador said, adding that one in three or four adults who migrate will have a child crossing the border.

Children migrating from Central America, who have been expelled from the US and sent back to Mexico with their families under Title 42, play in a temporary shelter, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on April 7 [File: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]



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