Mexico, Central America cite COVID-19 concern over migration

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government said Wednesday that it and 10 other countries in North and Central America are worried about the health risks of COVID-19 among migrants without proper documents.

The statement by the 11-member Regional Conference on Migration suggests that Mexico and Central America could continue to turn back migrants on the basis of the perceived risks of the pandemic.

The group “expressed concern over the exposure of irregular migrants to situations of high risk to their health and their lives, primarily during the health emergency.”

Over the last year, authorities in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras have turned back or stopped migrant caravans seeking to reach the U.S. border, in some cases demanding they show visas or negative coronavirus tests.

The group expressed its support for “safe, orderly and regulated” migration.

The group has also stressed the need to improve conditions in southern Mexico and Central America, so people won’t feel forced to emigrate.

The regional conference includes the United States, Canada, Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.