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Haitian migrants set up camp outside immigration offices in Chetumal

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Government officials are alerting would-be migrants of fraudulent agents offering to expedite visas or border crossings in exchange for money. Photo: Courtesy

Approximately 100 Haitian migrants have set up camp outside the offices of Mexico’s immigration authority in Chetumal. 

Several of the migrants insisted that they would not leave until authorities approved visas that would allow them to transit legally through Mexico en route to the US border. 

Others said that they were looking to obtain residence visas that would allow them to stay in Mexico. 

But because the migrants are apparently in Mexico illegally, both of these legal recourses appear to be unavailable.

To enter Mexico legally, Haitian nationals are obliged to present a visa when crossing the border. 

Unofficial group representatives mentioned that the reason they have set up camp outside of the offices is that they are out of money and have no resources for lodging.

The presence of the migrants in Chetumal has divided the opinions of locals, some of whom have decided to help them by donating food and other goods — while others are calling for their immediate deportation. 

Earlier: 2 Cuban migrants die in shipwreck off Yucatán coast

Large numbers of Haitian nationals have set up similar camps at other border cities, most notably Tijuana. 

Last week, Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Marcelo Ebrad noted that the number of foreign nationals requesting humanitarian asylum in Mexico has experienced a serious upswing over the past couple of years. 

“These are good people and they deserve the right to stable, secure lives. Our enemy here is not the people but rather the instability which is forcing them to take such drastic measures,” said Ebrad.

Secretary Ebrad also noted that human trafficking has been on the rise and that Mexicans and foreign nationals alike should be on alert for scams guaranteeing visas or successful border crossings.

Because of increasing instability in Central America and much of the Caribbean, large caravans of migrants on their way to the United States transit through Mexico every year. 

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