By Lizbeth Diaz
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of asylum applications in Mexico nearly doubled in 2021 from two years earlier, the head of the country’s commission for refugee assistance said on Monday, with most applications being from Haitian and Honduran migrants.
When compared to 2019, the 131,448 applications mark an increase of 86.84%, according to the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR).
“By far the main nationalities (who requested refuge) were Haitians and Hondurans,” the head of COMAR, Andres Ramirez, said, adding that Cubans were a distant third.
The rise in the number of Haitians making their way through Mexico has been spurred by economic malaise, a devastating earthquake and political turmoil following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July.
In the previous two years, most applications were filed by Honduran migrants.
Some 72% of those who applied for asylum in 2021 received a positive response, Ramirez said. Another 2% were also granted complementary protection.
Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries have long been crossing Mexico on their way north towards the U.S. border but in recent years, more and more migrants have applied for asylum in Mexico.
(Corrects headline and paragraphs 1 & 2 to reflect comparison year was 2019, not 2020)
(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Sandra Maler)