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Some migrants returning to their countries, most still hoping to enter US

La situación de los migrantes centroamericanos estancados en Tijuana entró en un nuevo compás de espera con el comienzo de una huelga de hambre, mientras aguardan la entrada del nuevo Gobierno mexicano.
La situación de los migrantes centroamericanos estancados en Tijuana entró en un nuevo compás de espera con el comienzo de una huelga de hambre, mientras aguardan la entrada del nuevo Gobierno mexicano. Agencia EFE

The migrant caravan, most of the members of which are currently in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, is continuing to fragment as in recent hours some 200 migrants asked to return to their countries, although thousands of others remain firm in their desire to request asylum in the US.

The decision by some migrants to return to their countries comes after the incidents on Sunday, when hundreds of Central Americans crossed the Tijuana River canal to try and climb over the border wall and enter the US illegally, an effort that was fended off by US authorities with tear gas.

México’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reported on Nov. 27 that some 200 migrants agreed to voluntarily return to their countries with the help of civilian organizations and México’s National Migration Institute (INM).

The entity said that on Tuesday, 105 migrants had already boarded a Federal Police plane for México City, from where they will be transferred by bus to the border with Guatemala.

“We have very few people from Guatemala and El Salvador. Of the 105, the majority are from Honduras. These are assisted voluntary returns, and there are other groups who are returning by land, like one that is leaving this afternoon,” INM commissioner Gerardo Leias García said.

Later, 10 more people asked for assisted return and joined 70 migrants who had requested the same service on Monday night.

CNDH official Edgar Sosa said that the voluntary returns are being accomplished via a process of registration and full accreditation of the migrants’ nationalities through their embassies.

On Monday, the 98 migrants who had been detained – most of them Hondurans – after they allegedly participated in the confrontations with police and attempts to cross the US border were deported.

A group of migrants remaining in Tijuana criticized the detentions and deportations and on Tuesday issued a communique titled “We’re don’t want to return to violence,” referring to the violence in their homelands, which they fled.

“In Tijuana there are international organizations who take for granted that we’re not going to be able to enter the US and that we must be returned, but many (of us migrants say) we have to keep trying because they’re going to kill us if we return to our countries,” the group said.

“We’re fleeing the violence and impunity in our countries and now there are so many of us that it’s become a crisis. It’s an emergency and we need information to make the best decisions to protect our lives,” they said.

They also called on the authorities to halt the deportations and arbitrary detentions given that, according to the Tijuana police report, 164 Hondurans, 16 Guatemalans, 13 Salvadorans and a Nicaraguan had been detained.

Federal Police chief Manelich Castilla responded to the migrants’ complaints by saying that they must “do things correctly, so that nobody confuses them or calls on them to disrupt order and take part in demonstrations, as occurred on Sunday.”

As of Monday night, Mexican authorities tallied 5,851 people who were being housed in the shelter in northern Tijuana, including 3,754 men, 1,074 women and 1,023 children.

300 inmigrantes piden ayuda para regresar

Más de 300 inmigrantes que forman parte de las caravanas de centroamericanos que han llegado hasta Tijuana, ciudad mexicana fronteriza con Estados Unidos, han solicitado ayuda para poder regresar a sus respectivos países.

Esos inmigrantes “nos han expresado su interés de retornar de Tijuana y estamos coordinando medios de transporte que sean seguros y dignos para ellos,” dijo en Ginebra el portavoz de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), Joel Millman.

Sostuvo que la OIM no ha hecho un recuento del número de inmigrantes de distintas nacionalidades centroamericanas que están estancados en Tijuana, pero que diversas fuentes los sitúan entre 3,800 y 4,000.

La organización no aseguró que podrá atender todas las solicitudes de retorno.

El proceso consiste en ofrecer consejo y verificar la situación de los que desean retornar para que evalúen las opciones que tienen antes de tomar una decisión final.

A los que se considera que cumplen con los criterios para presentar una solicitud de asilo se les recomienda que consideren esta posibilidad.

El programa que hace posible estas repatriaciones voluntarias es financiado por el Gobierno de Estados Unidos con un aporte de 1.2 millones de dólares, indicó Millman.

Entre las razones que dan los migrantes para querer regresar no sólo están el cansancio y la incertidumbre ante los obstáculos para su entrada en EE.UU., sino también el desconocimiento casi total con el que se incorporaron en una caravana.

“En las entrevistas que realizamos vemos que muchos no sabían lo duro que sería el recorrido o los riesgos que corrían,” explicó el portavoz.

Prácticamente nueve de cada diez migrantes desconoce en qué consiste el procedimiento para pedir asilo, “lo que indica que la migración económica ha sido un fuerza motora,” agregó.

Desde inicios de noviembre, la OIM ha facilitado el retorno de 453 migrantes, de los cuales el 57 % regresó a Honduras, el 38 % a El Salvador y el 5 % a Guatemala.

A 25 niños se les consiguió repatriar en avión.

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