Mexico’s tiny asylum agency is already overwhelmed with applicants who are abandoning the American dream because of US President Donald Trump’s hard line immigration measures.
Now, the agency fears the burden on employees already working up to 15 hours a day will increase after the US Supreme Court decided to restore a Trump administration policy banning most asylum applications at the US-Mexico border.
In Tapachula, a gateway city between Guatemala and Mexico, many dreamt of reaching the United States. But as the reality of Trump’s immigration policies sets in, many are trying to settle in Mexico.
Resigned to waiting, migrants spend hours on a patch of sidewalk across the street from the refugee office in Tapachula to regulate their status in the country.
Alexander Espinoza waited half a year. His life once revolved around making it to US soil. The 33-year-old Salvadoran says he tried to enter illegally 10 times, including six attempts in six months. But as Trump ratcheted up his anti-immigration rhetoric, Espinoza decided to call Mexico home.
Dozens of migrant families are in limbo near Mexico’s southern border, camped out on streets and with little relief in the short term.
Trump campaigned for office in 2015-16 pledging to halt the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico.