Published On: Thu, Dec 8th, 2016

More Central Americans seeking a Mexican — not American — Dream

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TENOSIQUE, Tabasco — Unable to find work and terrified by the street gangs that brazenly roamed the streets, Karen Zaldivar was one of tens of thousands of young people who fled Honduras in 2014.

Caught trying to slip across the U.S.-Mexico border, she was promptly deported.

Last year, Zaldivar set out again, but with a new destination: Mexico. A Los Angeles Times reporter found her in Tenosique, Tabasco, where she now lives in this small city just north of the Guatemalan border along with growing numbers of other Central Americans who have concluded that if they can’t reach the United States, the next best thing is Mexico.
“I decided to make a life here,” she said at a small open-air restaurant in Tenosique, where she works in the kitchen, frying fish. “It’s calmer, and safer.”
Estimates of how many Central Americans are living in Mexico are hard to come by, in part because some, like Zaldivar, have obtained forged Mexican identity documents. But statistics show more and more are staying legally by seeking political asylum or humanitarian visas.

Asylum applications in Mexico nearly tripled over three years, hitting 3,424 in 2015. Asylum requests this year are poised to be twice that, human rights advocates say, with most filed by Hondurans and Salvadorans.

The number of migrants seeking to stay in Mexico pales in comparison to the droves heading to the U.S. — more than 400,000 people were apprehended at the U.S. southern border in the fiscal year that ended in September, most of them from Central America.

But the burden on Mexico and other countries is likely to increase if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promises to beef up border security and deport up to 3 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

To read complete article click here.

Source: latimes.com

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