Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

No longer first choice

In a migrant shelter in the southern Mexican city of Tenosique, near the Guatemalan border, a refugee from Honduras says he originally planned to move to the United States with his family. Trump's election has changed everything. "I wanted to go to the United States with my family, but we've seen that the new government there has made things harder."

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Lingering in Mexico

Concepcion Bautista from Guatemala cradles her newborn son in the same migrant shelter. She says she plans to head for the United States, but will linger in Mexico to see how US President Donald Trump's immigration policies play out. Her goal is to reunite with her family up north...

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

A mere transit country?

…but for the time being, she believes applying for asylum in Mexico is a smarter move. Mexican asylum data and testimony from migrants in Tenosique suggest that although fewer Central Americans are trying to enter the US, plenty are still fleeing their poor, violent home countries, with many deciding to stay longer in Mexico, which has traditionally been a transit country.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Tough immigration policies

The Trump administration has pointed out a sharp decline in immigrant detentions in the first few months of this year as a vindication for the president's tough immigration policies. The measures are already having another effect. In California, where farmers usually rely on workers from Mexico to bring in the harvest, many Mexicans are staying away, preferring to find work in their own country.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Asylum applications on the rise

Migrants from Central America play football in the migrant shelter in Tenosique. The number of people applying for asylum in Mexico has soared by more than 150 percent since Trump was elected president. These days, Mexican immigrants would rather set up in Canada than the United States.

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

Human smugglers up the price

One man from Guatemala says the prices charged by people smugglers have risen sharply since Trump took office, now hovering around $10,000 (9,100 euros), up from about $6,000 a few years ago. Migrants sit below a mural in Mexico with the words: "Our demand is minimal: justice."

Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

A new home

With Mexico's immigration authorities controlling migration more assiduously, Central Americans were forced to take more isolated, dangerous routes where the chances of being mugged were higher. "We've gone north several times, but every time it's got harder," says one man, who was deported from the United States in December. "Now, it's better if we travel alone, along new routes."

Most migrants to the United States from the so-called "Northern Triangle" of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are staying in Mexico for now — because of Donald Trump's new immigration policies.