The action aims to persuade Mexico to grant the protesters passage towards the US
Undocumented migrants from Central and South America have sewn their mouths shut in a bid to persuade Mexico’s authorities to grant them passage to the US border. Shocking video and photos captured Tuesday in the city of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas show several people helping each other to sew their lips shut with needles and plastic thread, in front of a crowd that applauded and cheered them on. Some of the protesters were carrying children.
The demonstrators said they were frustrated that they had to wait for months before Mexico’s Institute of Migration (INM) would even consider their visa claims.
“[The Mexican immigration agency] gave me an appointment in three or four months and I don’t have the money to stay that many days,” Venezuelan Rafael Hernández said, as quoted by local media.
The INM has expressed concern over migrants’ “exposure to self-harm,” calling the lip suture “a senseless action,” that is bound to harm to “physical and psychological integrity” of those who were witnessing these scenes. The agency also considers these acts as an attempt at “putting pressure” on it. It said that its Chiapas office continued to fulfill the immigration procedures “with care,” giving priority to the most vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women and people with disabilities.
Last year Mexico saw a huge rise in the number of asylum applications: 108,195 from January to October, 2021, compared to 41,004 in 2020 and 70,346 in 2019.
The majority of applications – 72%, according to July figures of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid – are in Chiapas state.
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