Merida, Yucatan — The city is preparing for Central American migrants blocked from entering the United States.
The municipal director of social development, José Luis Martínez Semerena, told Punto Medio that the city is ready for them.
“We are prepared, the mayor has already informed us of the issue and all the directions are pending so that we can be ready with the programs that are required to provide the necessary support,” said the official, who explained that they will be given the same treatment that Mexican citizens receive when deciding to reside in the city.
Preparations are being made as Mexico steps up efforts to reduce a surge of migrants toward the U.S. border under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, who threatened Mexican goods with tariffs. Mexico is also strengthening its southern border with Guatemala.
“This is to provide initial support with opportunities to move forward, feel at home and decide to settle here and not go somewhere else,” said Martinez Semerena. Many migrants from Central America, given the political conditions in the United States, are now considering Mexico as a place to settle down, he said.
“Some are already arriving in Merida. If they approach the authority, we will support them by offering them guidance on what they need to establish themselves and once their legal situation in Mexico has been resolved, we can provide them with social support, for example, housing and schools, their children can continue with their studies,” said the official, who clarified that at the moment there are no resources available for these actions.
Merida’s image for safety is attracting migrants, he said. The city’s main problems today are pot holes and broken street lights, not murders and kidnappings.
If Mexico does not reduce immigration flows by mid-July, it could become a “safe third country” where asylum seekers must seek refuge instead of in the United States.
In Chiapas, the overburdened refugee office in Tapachula has seen a surge of asylum seekers. It is one of only three such offices in the country, according to Reuters.
Sources: Punto Medio, Reuters