SALTILLO, Mexico (Reuters) – Dozens of migrant refuges in Mexico have closed their doors or scaled back operations in recent weeks to curb the ravages of coronavirus, exposing people to greater peril just as migration from Central America to the United States is on the rise again.
Reuters spoke to people responsible for over 40 shelters that had offered refuge to thousands on a route where illegal immigrants often face assaults, robberies and kidnappings – before the pandemic forced them to shut or limit capacity.
The closures are a fresh headache for migrants already coping with reductions to the southern routes of a Mexican cargo train known as “La Bestia” (The Beast) that has long helped them get north.
Fewer shelters mean fewer safe places for Central Americans to take cover, even as many walk hundreds more miles than before, over a dozen migrants told Reuters.
When the main shelter in the northern city of Saltillo, a busy staging post on the road to Texas, shut before Christmas due to a COVID-19 outbreak that killed its founder, dozens of migrants were left to camp on the sidewalk outside.
Alarmed by the prospect of gangsters who often prey on migrants in the city, an important transit point for violent drug gangs, they organized their own night patrol.
“At night, suspicious cars park nearby or circle the area with two or three men inside,” said Honduran migrant Michael Castaneda, 27, who helped organize the sentry. “We know the gangs are watching us, and they know we’re watching them.”
A network of privately funded shelters provides food, legal and medical aid to tens of thousands of migrants traversing Mexico each year. Run by non-governmental agencies or religious organizations, they are subject to government rules, including health laws that have forced some to close in the pandemic.
Castaneda wants to reach the United States to work and send money back to his parents and three younger siblings to rebuild their family home, which was hammered by two devastating hurricanes that hit Central America in November.
more recommended stories
Mexico’s Covid Tzar Hugo Lopez-Gatell calls mask-wearers “egotistical”
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican.
Mexico’s corn imports are on track to break annual record
Mexico’s imports of corn, mostly from.
SEDENA awards contract to presidential aide’s firm
Mexico’s Ministry of Defense awarded last.
In the middle of the night, a man drowned at the Chelem Ría in Progreso, Yucatan
Progreso, Yucatán, (October 16, 2021).- Due.
“Asociación de Cantineros” emerges strong in Merida
As a response to what they.
8-year-old girl suffers burns in Uayma, Yucatán and is urgently taken to a Texas hospital
Michou and Mau Foundation helps with.
Spectacular Blood Moon will be visible in Yucatan on October 20th
MÉRIDA, Yucatán, (October 16, 2021).- The.
Inclusive Entrepreneurship Fair will be held in December at Mérida´s ADO CAME former bus station
MÉRIDA, Yucatán, (October 16, 2021).- Work for.
Shooting at the Mexico City International Airport, 1 dead and 2 injured
Eduardo Beaven was preparing to make.
La Palma volcano unleashes ‘lava tsunami’
6,800 people evacuated as eruption becomes.