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Protection Monitoring: Mexico - Snapshot March 2022

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This SNAPSHOT summarizes the findings of Protection Monitoring conducted in Ciudad Juarez and Tapachula, Mexico in March 2022 as part of the humanitarian intervention of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Jesuit Refugee Service Mexico (JRS), as part of a consortium with Save the Children Spain and Mexico, Plan International Spain and Mexico and HIAS Mexico, with the financial support of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). To view the interactive Dashboard with the results from this period and from the beginning of the Protection Monitoring program, click here.

Conditions in Ciudad Juarez continued to deteriorate during March, with the possibility of crossing into the United States impeded by the continued implementation of the restrictions known as Title 42. Only one organization in the area offered legal Assistance to particularly vulnerable individuals in order to request asylum in the United States as exceptions to Title 42, leaving the majority of persons of concern waiting indefinitely and exposed to false information, fraud and risky options to cross the border irregularly. During the month, there was increased surveillance at the border, with significant presence of different Mexican authorities – particularly the National Guard and the Mexican Army – near the line separating Mexico from the United States, along with generalized checkpoints throughout the city. In parallel, there were multiple abuses against persons of concern in some shelters, including security incidents and expulsions, together with the sale of food intended for humanitarian assistance. In the second half of the month, information regarding the impending cessation of the Title 42 restrictions began to circulate. For weeks, the lack of official information in this regard – until the formal announcement of U.S. authorities at the beginning of April – prompted the spread of doubts and rumors that overwhelmed the capacity of humanitarian actors to provide credible information.

Among persons of concern recently arrived to Tapachula, a heightened interest was detected in obtaining a humanitarian visa (Tarjeta de Visitante por Razones Humanitarias or TVRH) in order to transit towards the north of the country, along with diminished requests for information or support in cases before the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission (Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados or COMAR). During March, the National Migration Institute (INM, by its Spansih acronym) again resorted to ad hoc measures to emit the TVRH, issuing it as means to avoid protests, including those that were undertaken during the visit of Mexico’s president to Tapachula. The high demand for the TVRH – which authorizes free movement within Mexican territory for one year – and the lack of transparency around how to obtain it led to an increase in individuals seeking attention from INM. By mid-March, the INM delegation closed its office util further notice and suspended the availability of appointments through the online platform. This situation exacerbated protests, including in an informal settlement in the Bicentennial Park, where a collective departure in caravan is being planned.