WATCH: Migrant Caravans Assault Mexican Immigration Officers, Free Detainees

Haitian migrants scuffle at the door of an immigration center for a space in line for a turn to solve their migratory situation, in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Monday, May 27, 2019. The Mexican government is trying to encourage more migrants to regularize their status and stay in the south, …
AP File Photo/Marco Ugarte

On Saturday, a large group of mostly Haitians attacked officers from the Mexican Immigration Institute (INM) as they attempted to keep migrants from leaving the southern border state of Chiapas. The migrants revolted and stormed a government van to free detained migrants.

The video was captured by reporters working for Portal Fronterizo, a news and media agency in Mexico. The group of mostly Haitian migrants are unhappy with Mexican asylum processes requiring them to stay in Chiapas as their applications are adjudicated.

Mexico’s refugee commission (COMAR) adjudicates petitions and relies upon the INM to issue travel documents to depart Chiapas. According to COMAR, more than 74,000 petitions have processed from Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. For several weeks, migrants have protested COMAR and INM, demanding travel documents to the United States.

According to a statement issued by INM, the migrants must remain in Chiapas or risk refugee status denials. The migrants are allowed to enter the local labor market while they wait.

In defiance of Mexico’s refugee policies, the migrants are forming caravans and attempting to leave. INM officers and Mexican National Guard troops are engaging in operations designed to stop them and return them to Tapachula, Chiapas, sometimes unsuccessfully.

Several migrants and INM officers have been injured as the confrontations intensify. The caravans are accompanied by personnel from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to monitor for human rights violations. Several caravans have managed to avoid capture and are moving toward Mexico City.

Randy Clark
 is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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