A group of a dozen immigrants trying to get to the United States through Mexico sewed their mouths shut Tuesday in protest of the Mexican government's policies, not allowing passage during their trek to America.
Reuters reported Tuesday that the group of a dozen or so illegal immigrants from Central and South America used needles and plastic thread to sew their mouths shut, except for a small opening to drink, to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis at Mexico's southern border where they are stalled trying to get to the U.S.
"The migrants are sewing their lips together as a sign of protest," Irineo Mujica, an activist at the demonstration told Reuters. "We hope that the National Migration Institute can see that they are bleeding, that they are human beings."
In a statement Tuesday by Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration, the agency said the act of self-harm was "senseless" and is damaging the "physical and psychological integrity" of the immigrants.
"It is also worrying that these measures have been carried out with the consent and support of those who claim to be their representatives, with the intention of putting pressure on the immigration authority regarding care that is already provided," the agency's statement said. "The INM Migratory Regulation Office in the state of Chiapas continues with the care and relief of immigration procedures, with priority given to those who make up vulnerable groups, such as girls, boys, adolescents, pregnant women, victims of crime, people with disabilities, family nuclei, and older adults."
The protest took place in the Guatemalan border city of Tapachula, which has served as a gathering place for thousands of immigrants waiting for papers to continue their journey, Reuters reported.
Venezuelan national Yorgelis Rivera told the news service that she has been waiting for more than a month to hear about her case from Mexican immigration authorities so she and her daughter can continue to America.
"I'm doing it for my daughter," Rivera said. "She has not eaten anything in the last few hours, and I see no solution ... from the authorities. We are like prisoners here,"
According to the Reuters story, immigration officials in Mexico saw a rise of 87% in asylum applications during 2021, mainly from Haiti and Honduras.
More than 1 million illegal immigrants have come across the United States' southern border since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, according to Customs and Border Patrol statistics for the period.
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