It may seem like Mexico is exempt from problems concerning refugees, because of the focus of the “Refugee Crisis” on Europe, or even because of the numerous news revolving around the millions of Mexicans illegally reaching the United States. Nevertheless, Mexico is one of the main destinations for immigrants coming from the entire South and Central American continents. In fact, the millions of Latin American emigrants trying to settle in the United States, be it legally or illegally, must go through Mexico.
La Bestia, the Beast, is a train which slithers through the country; it starts at the Southern border, right on the frontier with Guatemala. Crossing the entire country is an extremely difficult trek to accomplish, due to both the conditions and the length of the journey. Subsequently, a large amount of Latin Americans have no other choice but to stay in Mexico, usually in the states scattered along the Southern border, such as in the state of Chiapas. Needless to say that welcoming such great numbers of people throughout the year is a complicated task for the country, especially considering its extremely vast population (122.3 million people).
The United Nations is contributing to trying to provide solutions to this problem through the ACNUR (Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados, or the UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), an institution whose sole purpose is, as its name indicates, to help refugees. This agency, for instance, helps refugees find a place to live in and encourages their integration in the country. It then not only helps them in their situation but also, in most cases, either helps them travel back to their country of origin or settle down in Mexico.
“No one chooses to be a refugee, but you have a choice. Help us commemorate the international day of refugees.”
Whether the help that such agencies are trying to bring to this crisis is truly effective remains, however, debatable. Since Mexico welcomes most of its immigrants, many overcrowded cities find themselves struggling to house and supply jobs to the latter. This leads to many emigrants ending up living on the streets. Although there are many laws stipulating the help that should be offered to refugees, solving the problem is not as evident as it seems.
Finally, The State of Mexico and many of its inhabitants are pushed to consider a much harder solution, which would be to prevent immigrants’ entrance in the country.
by Wendy T.