EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexico continues to receive large numbers of refugee status petitions from foreign nationals biding their time before venturing to the United States or intent on finding work in a country with more jobs than in their own, newly released government data shows.

A total of 40,026 citizens of 93 countries solicited refuge in Mexico during the first four months of 2022. That’s a 27 percent increase over a similar period in 2021, according to the Mexican Commission of Assistance to Refugees (COMAR). In 2021, Mexico fielded a record 131,448 refugee petitions.

More than half of the refugees are coming from three countries: Honduras (8,848), Cuba (8,445) and Haiti (6,627). The vast majority are walking across the border with Guatemala and filing their petitions in the southern state of Chiapas (73.79); others are making their claims in Mexico City (5,294), including those who flew in; and some are petitioning at cities near the U.S. border, such as Tijuana (1,275), COMAR records show.

The war in Ukraine also prompted citizens of that country and also from Russia to apply in greater numbers this year than last, said Andres Alfonso Ramirez Silva, general coordinator of COMAR.

“We see an increase because of the (war) this year. From 2013 to 2021 an average of 4 Ukrainians and 10 Russians applied for refuge in Mexico per year; in ’22, we’ve seen 70 (Ukrainians) and 86 (Russians) through the end of April,” Ramirez said this week on social media.

Mexico is seeing a lower percentage of applicants from the Northern Triangle of Central American, but that could be because more people from all over the world are coming in, Ramirez said. More than 4,000 Venezuelans, 2,300 Nicaraguans, 841 Senegalese and 722 Colombians have filed for refugee protection since January.

Still, Northern Triangle residents make up 61 percent of Mexican refuge petitioners, which comes out to 3,113 per month so far this year, compared to a monthly average of 3,862 in 2021 and 3,570 in 2020, COMAR figures show.