The Associated Press reports the Mexican immigration agency issued transit visas to 424 aliens from African countries that will enable them to reach the U.S. border. Officials from the National Immigration Institute said those from the Congo, Somalia and Ghana had traveled from Brazil or Ecuador to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Most voluntarily turned themselves in over just two days last week.
The Daily Caller found that some may be Haitians posing as Africans in order to avoid deportation. Mexico has hemispheric relations with Haiti, unlike some African countries, which increases the chances of Haitian repatriation. Earlier this year, Mexican authorities encountered 45 migrants on their way to the U.S. who claimed to be from Africa. They were given transit visas and traveled to a U.S. staging point, where they admitted to being Haitian.
The Department of Homeland Security announced last week it is seeking the help of Mexico and other Latin American countries in addressing a spike in aliens from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who are trying to reach the United States. The rise in extra-continental aliens in Latin America is likely a result of tighter border restrictions in Europe and looser restrictions in countries like Ecuador. Those seeking an alternative who cannot obtain a U.S. visa find Latin America an easy staging point, especially in countries where corruption can pave the way.
Reuters reports: “The migrants often fly to Brazil, obtain fake passports there, and are smuggled to Panama before heading through Central America to Mexico's porous southern border…Mexican immigration data show 6,342 Asian, African and Middle Eastern migrants were apprehended trying to enter Mexico in the first six months of this year. That was up from 4,261 in all of 2015, and 1,831 in 2014. U.S. border apprehensions point to the same trend. Between October 2015 and May 2016, U.S. agents apprehended 5,350 African and Asian migrants at the U.S. Southwest border. That's up from 6,126 in all of fiscal year 2015 and 4,172 in all of fiscal year 2014.
Reuters continued, “U.S. concerns about potential security risks from migrants using the unusual and circuitous southern route have been growing in recent years, following a string of Islamic State-inspired attacks in the West and the surge in Syrian refugees fleeing that country's civil war. Five Syrian nationals detained in Honduras last November were part of a wider group of seven Syrians who acquired forged passports in Brazil and then went by land to Argentina on their way north…’The reality is that the vast majority of the people that Mexico encounters that are extra-continental will eventually end up on our border,’ a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official said.”
Read more from the Associated Press.
Updated: Wed, Nov 2nd 2016 @ 9:05am EDT