The hardline stance United States President Donald Trump has taken on immigration issues has overwhelmed a small asylum agency in Mexico that is now dealing with droves of individuals who are being forced to give up on their dreams of life in America.
A recent Supreme Court decision to uphold a policy by the Trump Administration that bans most applications for asylum that take place at the border can only make things worse for the tiny agency. Employees of the agency are already working upwards of 80 hours a week.
Danny Perez is a 29-year-old taxi driver who left his native Honduras to seek a better life in the United States. The recent developments have caused Perez to believe the life he wishes to build for himself may have to take place in Mexico.
Perez is unable to work at this time because he does not possess the papers needed to secure employment. He also has no money to rent a room. When asked about his present situation, Perez says he fears he may lose his mind while he is waiting for his paperwork to be processed.
Perez is forced to live on the sidewalk across the street from an office for refugees in the city of Tapachula. He says he feels safe in the area surrounded by other migrants but is lucky to get a couple of hours of sleep each night.
The Supreme Court ruling involves a law that requires migrants who must travel through another country in search of asylum in America to first gain asylum in the country they entered before reaching America. Andres Ramirez is the top man at a Mexican agency for refugees named COMAR. Ramirez believes the situation will exacerbate the problems already experienced with the flow of migrants in the country.
Alexander Espinoza is a 33-year-old from El Salvador. He says he tried to enter the United States without permission 10 times. He says the anti-immigrant rhetoric from President Trump caused him to look to Mexico as a possible new home. Espinoza was officially recognized as a refugee by COMAR a week ago. He had been waiting since March. Espinoza is now awaiting his residency card.
COMAR was expecting to handle at least 80,000 applications this year even before the Supreme Court decision. This is twice the number of applications processed a year ago. In August, Comar processed 8,178 applications. This was three times the number of applications processed in August 2018.