After facing gang violence and other disasters that tore apart their families and homes, many Central Americans are forced to flee their country in search of safety. In the past, many of these individuals had their sights set on the United States. Now, however, due to recent changes in the US immigration laws, many of these asylum seekers are choosing to remain in Mexico and observe the US immigration climate from a distance…at least for a while.
One young mother fled to Mexico after narrowly escaping violence in her home country of Guatemala. She envisions a life in America, a life where she can reunite with her father and two sons. But for now, she remains in Mexico, waiting for a window of opportunity to achieve her dream.
She is not alone. The number of asylum applications was 8,781 in 2016. This number is expected to rise to 22,500 in 2017. However, with Mexico’s grip on migrant regulation tightening, Central Americans seeking asylum are forced to move faster and more dangerously before. The risks and uncertainty that refugees hoped to leave behind instead follow them as they search for safety and security.
While their stay in Mexico may mean extra months or years before a reunion with family members, it provides Central American refugees a haven to safely plan the rest of their journey. They remain hopeful for permanent asylum in Mexico, Canada, or the United States and for a better life than the one they are running from.
You can read more on why refugees are staying longer in Mexico here.