Mexico He urged the United States on Friday to reorient its immigration policy once and for all, favoring investment and not force, after the death of 55 migrants in an accident in the south of the country.
While the deceased continued to increase due to the seriousness of the injuries, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that “these misfortunes have to serve to raise awareness and address the underlying problem.”
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“The migratory problem is not solved with coercive means, but there have to be opportunities for work, for well-being. People do not leave their villages for pleasure, they do it out of necessity “he noted in his daily lecture.
A trailer with some 160 undocumented migrants, mostly Central Americans, crashed into a pedestrian bridge in the southern state of Chiapas on Thursday, leaving a hundred injured.
The leftist president recalled that he has insisted before his American counterpart, Joe Biden, on the need to invest in social programs in Central America to prevent migration.
But “There is slowness“, He affirmed, noting that in Washington” they have to face a rheumatic elephant that does not walk “, alluding to the approval of budget items in Congress.
The victims are originally from Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, according to Civil Protection of Chiapas.
López Obrador indicated that “most” of the deceased are Guatemalans.
“Do not sleep”
Six of the deaths occurred in Chiapas hospitals. “There are very serious people, it could rise” the death toll, the regional secretary for Civil Protection, Luis Manuel García, told AFP.
Access to the hospital where the largest number of injured is concentrated was restricted, AFP journalists confirmed.
Meanwhile, to the scene of the accident they came spontaneously to lay candles and pray. “Our hearts are broken,” said Rocío Hernández, a 52-year-old housewife, who was displaced despite convalescing from a knee operation.
The accident occurred Thursday afternoon on a highway in Chiapas, the main access point for undocumented immigrants, when the driver lost control of the vehicle, allegedly due to speeding.
The driver fled, the National Guard said, indicating that the truck belongs to a company domiciled in Mexico.
The Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation for homicide, while government authorities denied that the trailer had previously passed through an official checkpoint.
Covered with white sheets, the corpses were arranged in a row on the road, amid an intense mobilization of paramedics, authorities and residents of the place such as Sabina López.
“Do not sleep! Don’t close your eyes! Remember what you promised your mom! Hold on! ”Sabina says that a migrant pleaded with his partner after the accident.
Along with López Obrador, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and the Vatican expressed condolences.
The tragedy occurred three days after a criticized US program that forces migrants to wait in Mexico for a response to their asylum applications was reactivated by court order.
Washington also applies a measure that allows the expulsion of migrants to prevent the spread of covid-19, and has carried out massive deportations, including by air, of Haitians.
“Migration alternatives and legal avenues are required to avoid tragedies like this one,” the United Nations Office for Refugees (UNHCR) noted on Twitter.
Mexico announced that it will facilitate the repatriation of the bodies and that it will regularize the migratory situation of the survivors.
The transfer of migrants in trucks is one of the most common methods with which human smugglers take them into Mexican territory, with the aim of reaching the northern border and trying to cross into the United States.
This modality is also one of the most feared, according to travelers on the Mexican-American border have told AFP.
According to these testimonies, migrants spend hours locked in cabins without ventilation and avoiding drinking water so as not to have to urinate, without the drivers answering their prayers to stop and not die of suffocation. Some perish on the way.
Fleeing poverty and violence in their countries, others have preferred to be part of caravans that make much of the long journey on foot, subjected to extreme climates.
The accident coincided with the start of Biden’s Summit for Democracy, which excluded Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti, the origin of most of Latin American undocumented migration.
Analysts such as Michael Shifter believe that this measure, which also involves Bolivia, may make it difficult to solve the migration crisis.
On their way to the United States, migrants are also victims of abuse by Mexican authorities and criminal groups that handle human trafficking.
The flow of undocumented immigrants multiplied after the coming to power of Biden, who promised to analyze their cases.
More than 190,000 have been detected in Mexico between January and September, triple the number in 2020. Some 74,300 have been deported.
The United States, in turn, recorded that 1.7 million people entered illegally from Mexico between October 2020 and last September, a historical record.
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