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Mexico to offer Haitian migrants alternative to asylum

Haitian migrants arriving in Mexico may soon be eligible to stay and work in the country without applying for asylum.

Andrés Ramírez, head of Mexico’s refugee commission (COMAR), announced recently that Haitians will be eligible for a new form of migratory relief, which could take the form of temporary humanitarian visitor cards that would allow them to work and access public services.

Thousands of Haitians remain stuck in southern Mexico, often in  precarious conditions.

Ramírez said Mexico is opposed to deporting migrants back to unsafe conditions in Haiti, but the new plan could prevent a "collapse" of the country's  overburdened asylum system.

As of Nov. 16, Ramirez says more than 116,500 people have  sought asylum in Mexico — far outpacing previous annual record of about 70,400 asylum seekers in 2019. This year, Haitians make up 44% of asylum applicants.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.