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Legal orientation and family reunification processes among top search trends for asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border, IRC data reveals

Data collected during the first months of operation of InfoDigna—a digital platform supported by the International Rescue Committee (IRC)—revealed people’s most relevant demands of information and services while waiting for migration processes along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The trends identified by InfoDigna showed that the needs of people along the U.S.-Mexico border are primarily focused on:

  • Availability of updated information. The section most visited by users was News (30%), followed by migration guides (20%), and a service directory (16%). Among the most consulted articles were those related to: MPP cases (before the policy was rescinded); definition of asylum and criteria; the asylum Executive Order signed by President Biden; and migratory regularization through family reunification. 
  • Access to legal services. More than half of the cases held by InfoDigna’s moderators fell under this category, with 55% of people reaching out to ask for orientation or access to services related to legal processes. 
  • Access to immigration orientation. People mostly looked for information on how to legally immigrate into the U.S., with 27.3% of the cases, while only 2.4% requested information to follow a process in Mexico. 

Raymundo Tamayo, IRC’s country director for Mexico, said: “Misinformation is one of the main dangers that migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees face on their journeys to seek safety. Clear communication and trustworthy sources of information about their options for safety and services can empower them to make well-informed, critical decisions on the issues that matter most to them.

“With InfoDigna, we strive to grant access to timely and accurate information, which is especially crucial for vulnerable populations who are experiencing a crisis, whether they are fleeing conflict, suffering the effects of a disaster, or at risk of a public health problem, like COVID-19.” 

During the first five months of the year, InfoDigna received more than 11,000 visits and 1,700 requests from users to access direct support, provided by the platform’s moderators. Based on users’ requests, InfoDigna’s specialists identified that:

  • The main country of origin was Cuba, with 33% of users. Honduras was second with 24.5%, and Haiti third with 18.5%.
  • 33% of users were women traveling on their own. Men traveling alone represented 52% of users, while families and women traveling with children amounted to 7% of the total users each. 
  • Most people were seeking asylum in the U.S., with 76% of the cases. Migrants still on the move represented 15.7% of the users, while other migratory conditions were less common, including refugees and people seeking asylum in Mexico.

To date, InfoDigna has provided direct attention to more than 4,700 people on the move, with a 98% of satisfaction among users, most of them living along the U.S.-MX border. 

InfoDigna—part of the Global Signpost project—is designed to support migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Mexico. Between January and May 2021, InfoDigna mostly supported users in Ciudad Juárez and other northern cities, although the service will be expanded to the rest of the country in upcoming months. On the platform, users can find answers to multiple questions and get trustworthy information that helps them reduce the risks they face every day. The platform includes a two-way communication feature, where a team of trained moderators provides assistance tailored to people’s needs, via chat or through the messaging app on the Facebook page.

InfoDigna compiles information and maps services delivered by almost 300 organizations to cover a broad list of needs, including housing and shelter; health care; COVID-19 prevention and response; legal support; human rights; identification and documentation procedures; and more.

The IRC in Mexico
During 2021, the IRC is expanding its response to the migration crisis to ten cities in Mexican Southern and Northern borders, as well as in Mexico City. The IRC’s programs offer a timely and comprehensive response to the most urgent needs of people on the move, including prevention and protection from gender-based violence; response to COVID-19; economic recovery and development; child protection services; mental and psychosocial support; cultural orientation; support for comprehensive protection; and access to critical and trustworthy information.

 

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.