US Congressman says Mexico discriminates against indigenous people and Africans

US congressmen of Foreign Affairs for Africa and representatives of organizations defending migrants on Friday criticized the racism of which African asylum seekers who remain in Mexico are victims

US congressmen of the Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs for Africa and representatives of migrant advocacy organizations criticized this Friday the racism of which African asylum seekers who remain in Mexico are victims while awaiting the resolution of their cases.

“There is a shouting secret in Mexico, that there is a lot of racism; they discriminate against indigenous people and also against African people,” said Congressman Juan Vargas of San Diego.

A delegation of five US congressmen crossed the border to the Mexican city of Tijuana, where they met with about 40 migrants from African countries, mostly from Cameroon and Sierra Leone.

“I felt very happy to have understood the stories they told in their own words and through their tears, the racism they have to endure in Mexico, about which we have to do something,” Congressman Vargas said at a later press conference.

The executive director of the Black Alliance for Fair Immigration, Nana Gyamfi, reported that African migrants “are invisible to the Mexican government; nobody knows how many there are but (social organizations) estimate that there may be up to ten thousand migrants between Tapachula, in the border with Guatemala, and the border with the United States. “

Gyamfi stressed that the pressure of President Donald Trump and the threat of raising tariffs on Mexico “forced Mexico’s liberal policy to be changed to a regrettable migration policy.”

The organization’s director commented that in addition to suffering discrimination, African migrants face the language barrier in the Latin American country, which makes them more vulnerable.

Congressman Juan Vargas said that migrants arriving from African countries should have priority to apply for asylum before the US authorities.

Douglas Stephens, a former Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) official who worked as an asylum seeker interview officer, urged the subcommittee to demand changes in immigration policy.

Stephens said at the press conference that he resigned his post “after understanding that the Trump Administration’s policy was to end asylum policy” through the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program in English).

Implemented since January, through this program, known as “Remain in Mexico,” migrants are sent to Mexican border cities to await the resolutions of their asylum claims.

Attorney Kate Clark, of Jewish Family Services in San Diego, said that currently less than 2% of migrants in the MPP program are represented by lawyers, “which is a prerequisite for immigration courts to understand the circumstances and grant asylum “.

Meanwhile, the director of Legal Defense of Amnesty International (AI) United States, Charanya Krishnaswami, told the subcommittee that all migrants face unfortunate situations in Mexico, especially south of the Texas border.

“In a camp of hundreds of tents, thousands of people, many of them families with babies, survive cold and poor diet and confinement,” he said.

The visit of the legislators takes place on the same day that the Washington Post reported that federal authorities are extending this program to the Tucson area in Arizona, from where they will be sent to undocumented immigrants to Texas and from there send them to Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) to await their asylum cases.

Source: el imparcial

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