September 14th, 2022

Asylum in Mesoamerica: Accessing international protection in Mexico and Guatemala

Civil wars, climate change, gang violence, and other socio-economic factors render the United States a critical destination for migrants seeking international protection in the Americas. The U.S. government, however, has prioritized policies aimed at preventing migrants from crossing its borders through externalized migration control measures that force migrants to stay and/or seek asylum in transit states. Asylum in Mesoamerica provides a detailed reporting of the asylum systems in Mexico and Guatemala, and in doing so oers a concrete accounting of the consequences of the United States’ migration deterrence policies. The project commenced during the Trump Administration, and its relevance and the urgency of protection-seekers having access to international legal protections continues in the current Administration. The Biden Administration’s recent announcement reinstating the Migration Protection Protocols, or the “Remain in Mexico” program, is a poignant example of this relevance and urgency. So, too, are the statistics: In 2021, the Mexican government has received a record number of 108,195 asylum applications. Asylum applications also have increased exponentially in Guatemala during the last two years, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since the beginning of August 2021, over 20,000 migrants have been expelled to Guatemala.

Download the Executive Summary here.

Download the Report here.