Mexico City, Mexico, April 12, 2021 — After the announcement of an agreement between the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras governments to reinforce military presence at their borders and stem the flows of migrants and asylum seekers, the International Rescue Committee recommends to consider more sustainable and humane measures and prioritize the solution of root drivers of migration in the region.
Meghan Lopez, the IRC’s regional vice president for Latin America, said: “Seeking asylum is legal—even during a pandemic—and preventing people from doing so, or even criminalizing them for it, is inhumane.
“As living conditions in northern Central America—and even Mexico—worsen due to violence, insecurity, poverty, climate change and COVID-19, we can only expect that more people will be displaced and try to seek safety, including by heading north. The announcement of this agreement arrives as we start to see an increase in the number of people from northern Central America seeking asylum in Mexico, but also as people trying to get to the U.S. continue to be returned under Title 42.
“International law must be reinforced and respected to receive and assist people fleeing conflict. The IRC urges international cooperation to scale response systems to humanitarian needs across the region, both in response to those fleeing to seek safety today as well as those in communities of origin. Partnerships with experienced NGOs will be necessary to address this humanitarian crisis and meet the needs of asylum seekers: from basic services—such as shelter, food and safety—to diagnosis, treatment and isolation spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The IRC is working to expand and scale up much-needed programs in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Its response includes capacity-building support to local partners to increase and improve the availability and quality of services in northern Central America and at the northern and southern borders of Mexico. The IRC’s current programming includes supporting women’s protection and empowerment, including prevention and protection of women, girls and members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been victims of gender-based violence; economic recovery and development; mental health and psychosocial support; cultural orientation; and access to critical information through CuéntaNos in northern Central America and InfoDigna in Mexico, both part of the Global Signpost project.
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.