Defense groups sue Mexico seeking to stop mass removal of migrants


Deported migrants enter El Ceibo, Guatemala, on the border with Mexico, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. The migrants, mostly Central Americans were detained in southern Mexico when they were trying to reach The United States and transferred by Mexican authorities to the border point in Guatemala. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Four migrant defense groups in Mexico announced Wednesday that they have sought court injunctions to block what they call “massive” deportations, arguing the government is violating due process and Mexican and international law governing asylum.

The groups said one legal action was filed Sept. 3 in the southeastern state of Tabasco and another in Mexico City.

The groups contend the government is acting illegally by expelling migrants “before dawn and at unestablished (border) points” and also by participating in chain expulsions of migrants first flown from the U.S. to southern Mexico and then carried over land by Mexican officials to the border with Guatemala. The migrants are not told of the possibility of seeking protection in Mexico, the groups said.

The migrants expelled from the United States are removed under so-called Title 42 authority, a health provision enacted during the Trump administration with the justification of the COVID-19 pandemic, but continued under the Biden administration.

Most recently, the U.S. has been flying non-Mexican migrants to airports in Mexico’s southern states of Chiapas and Tabasco. Mexican immigration authorities then bus them to the Guatemala border, even though many of them are not Guatemalan. In August, there were 34 such flights. United Nations agencies have expressed concern as well.

The organizations, including Asylum Access, the Foundation for Justice, Without Borders and the Institute for Women in Migration, argue that the expulsions violate the ban on removing people with international protection needs and not taking into account the higher interest of children nor the perspective of gender.

In recent days, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has insisted Mexico respects the rights of migrants. The government has been criticized over sometimes violent clashes with migrants trying to walk north from the southern city of Tapachula.

The president has said simply containing migrants in southern Mexico is not sustainable and sent a letter this week to U.S. President Joe Biden insisting the U.S. do more to address the root causes of migration in the region.

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