The raids in June took place as the US announced a deal with Mexico to curb migration and increase enforcement measures in Mexico, with an emphasis on controlling the country’s southern border with Guatemala.
“People are now traveling clandestinely in small groups,” says Martín. “They are forced to travel along dangerous routes, preyed on by criminal groups, and without access to shelter or basic health services just when they need them most. Greater numbers of migrants are likely to resort to using smugglers, who are the ones who stand to benefit most from these repressive measures.”
Meanwhile, new US government rules for people seeking asylum in the US force them to await their asylum hearings in Mexico. Near Mexico’s northern border with the US, cities such as Mexicali, Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Matamoros are becoming temporary homes to large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers. MSF teams are not only treating patients from Central America but an increasing number of people from countries including Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Cameroon. Many are at risk of exploitation by criminal gangs as they wait for a chance to continue their journeys.