Mexico Interrupts Services Outside Its Largest Immigrant Station

Published: Saturday, September 7, 2019 - 6:39pm
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Mexican authorities interrupted services for migrants outside the country's largest migrant center for at least three days last week, saying some migrants had become violent.

Authorities interrupted services outside the Century XXI migration station in the southern city of Tapachula, about 20 miles north of the Guatemala border, after some people shouted, pushed over fences and threw chairs, the National Migration Institute said in a statement. No one was hurt, the statement said.

According to some estimates, some 3,000 migrants are living in or near the migration station — most of them from Angola, Cameroon, Ghana or Haiti. Advocates say many are living in squalid conditions with little access to running water or food.

Since late August, they’ve been protesting a new policy that forces them to apply for asylum in Mexico or to leave through the country’s southern border. Until recently, many migrants had been given a special permission to leave the country through any official exit, meaning they could lawfully travel north to the U.S. border.

"That's why we have thousands of migrants that are running away from their countries, seeking asylum, but that wish to do it in the United States, not in Mexico," said Claudia Leon, who oversees Jesuit Refugee Services in the southern city of Tapachula.

Mexico agreed in June to cut land-based migration to the U.S., under a threat of import tariffs from President Donald Trump.

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