• The IRC analyzed data extracted from an emergency cash program for asylum seekers in southern Mexico and identified that 85% of participants lacked a way to generate an income.
  • Participants in the IRC’s program expressed needs related to housing and resources to buy food.

As thousands of people in need of international protection continue to see Mexico as a potential safe destination—becoming the third highest receiver of asylum claims in 2021—the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warns about the increasing needs that they can find along the border with Guatemala. 

After analyzing data extracted from an emergency cash relief program—which impacted over 800 people—the IRC found that people on the move in Tapachula, a border city in southern Mexico:

Rafael Velásquez, Director for Mexico at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said:

“Mixed migration and displacement through Mexico has been a longstanding mechanism for people fleeing violence and conflict from Central and South America, as well as from the Caribbean. During the last years, although not a new phenomenon, we have seen a particular increase in the number of people requesting asylum in Mexico, with over 131,000 claims in 2021 and more than 51,000 in the first half of 2022. 

“At the IRC we have identified Mexico as a strategic location to respond to the displacement crises in the region, including its potential to become a safe destination for some people. Despite this potential, the protection and asylum systems in Mexico are overwhelmed and support from the international community is not enough—for instance, there is not even a Humanitarian Response Plan, which could offer an opportunity to fund programs to respond to the most urgent needs of asylum seekers in the country.

“As needs grow, international cooperation and funding are even more critical to support and strengthen humanitarian responses to guarantee people’s integrity, regardless of their nationality or status.”

The IRC’s response in Mexico

Since 2019, the IRC is supporting people on the move in Mexico. Currently, the IRC responds along the main migration corridors: from the southern to the northern borders and along the routes through the country. The IRC’s programs offer a response to needs of displaced people and asylum seekers, including: economic recovery and development; mental health and psychosocial support; prevention and response to gender-based violence; access to critical information through InfoDigna, a multi-channel information platform; prevention and mitigation of COVID-19; child protection services; as well as identifying needs and referring cases to local service providers. Additionally, the IRC is supporting local integration efforts by providing cultural orientation to individuals who have chosen to stay in Mexico.

The IRC recently conducted an assessment of the situation that displaced people faced in northern Mexico. Click here to find more information.