Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) said in a statement that it had removed migrants from 65 government facilities since March 21, following health and safety guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak. Last month, the Mexican government held 3,759 people, but that number has shrunk to 106 after 3,653 migrants were deported to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Those remaining in INM centers are awaiting the decisions on asylum requests or judicial hearings, or had asked permission to stay, a migration official told Reuters.
Last week, the Trump administration announced an executive order that would suspend permanent immigration procedures for 60 days, after saying in March that it would immediately deport any illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country over concerns of potential coronavirus outbreaks in detention facilities. Reuters found earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection have removed nearly 7,000 migrants to Mexico, including nearly 400 children.
“President Trump is committed to protecting the health and economic well-being of American citizens as we face unprecedented times,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday. “As President Trump has said, ‘Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.’ At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary.”
Democrats around the country, including in California and Chicago, have countered with proposals to provide illegal immigrants with access to locally run relief programs.
“Here in Chicago, saying ‘we are all in this together’ means that during this crisis, no one gets left out and no one gets left behind,” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said in announcing an executive order to secure coronavirus relief benefits for undocumented city residents.