Mexico - 2017 plan - Population Trends


The number of asylum applications from NTCA citizens registered by the COMAR in the first semester of 2016 indicate a 150 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.The recognition rate rose from 30 per cent in April 2015 to 62 per cent in April 2016. The number of unaccompanied children who applied for refugee status from January to April 2016 increased by 132 per cent when compared to the same period in 2015. The recognition rate of unaccompanied children also increased from 70 per cent in April 2015 to 89 per cent in April 2016. Abandonment and withdrawals rate dropped from 30 to 24 per cent.  The latest numbers released by COMAR up to September 2016 show a total number of 5,944 asylum claims from January to September 2016, of which about 94 per cent are from NTCA. This is the highest number of individual asylum claims registered in Mexico since the adoption of the country’s law on refugees and complementary protection in 2011. Some 1,746 individuals were granted refugee status (65 per cent acceptance rate) and 328 received complementary protection, 1,469 either abandoned or withdrew their case (25 per cent), and a total of 1,278 awaiting a decision.
According to statistics published by the Migration Policy Unit of the Ministry of Interior (Unidad de Política Migratoria, UPM), the number of non-nationals detained by migration officials from January to September 2016 is 136,448, a decrease of 11 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. Those detained in 2016 include some 113,764 from NTCA countries (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala). Of the total number of non-nationals detained, some 27,359 are children (including 12,574 unaccompanied, a decrease of 15 per cent compared to the same period in 2015). Despite the high number of unaccompanied children and adolescents, only a small number claimed asylum and are recognized as refugee in Mexico. Up to September 2016, a total of 176 applied for asylum, some 64 were recognised and 14 received complementary protection, while some 46 await a decision and 37 have abandoned or withdrawn their case. The overall main reasons for abandonment and withdrawal are reportedly due to detention periods and conditions, poor reception conditions outside of detention, stringent reporting requirements, and security concerns.
Faith-based shelters working along the southern border and throughout traditional routes used by asylum-seekers and migrants reported major changes in the profile of those being serviced, including an increasing numbers of unaccompanied children and adolescents, families with children including large, multi-generational family groups, as well as transgender women and gay men. Diversity among those fleeing towards Mexico presents operational and protection challenges to UNHCR, the Government and civil society partners. While special protection measures are urgently needed, material assistance, shelter and accommodation requirements continue to be mostly absent from traditional temporary migration responses, which must now be transformed into more protection-oriented, integration-friendly and permanent responses.
As a result of increased efforts to disseminate information on asylum, provide legal aid, improve reception arrangements and bolster the Government’s capacity (including for BID), UNHCR expects to see a continuation of the upward trends in asylum claims and recognition rates and a decrease in withdrawal of claims. This will be reinforced by the growing understanding in countries of origin that Mexico is a country of asylum and that travel further north through remote parts of Mexico is both extremely dangerous for undocumented individuals and increasingly unlikely to lead to entry into the United States. Taken together, these developments could lead to a significant increase in asylum claims, potentially above current UNHCR planning figures.