A dozen migrants from Central and South America have sewn their mouths shut in protest of Mexico’s attempts to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The protest is an attempt to “convince the country’s immigration authority to grant them passage toward the U.S. border,” Reuters reported.
The migrants used needles and plastic threads to sew each other’s mouths closed, except for a small opening to be able to drink liquids. They used alcohol to cleanse the wounds, Reuters reported.
“The migrants are sewing their lips together as a sign of protest,” activist Irineo Mujica said during the protest, according to Reuters. “We hope that the National Migration Institute can see that they are bleeding, that they are human beings.”
Mexico’s migration agency (INM) condemned the protests in a statement, saying, “it is worrying that these measures have been carried out with the consent and support of those who call themselves their representatives, with the intention of pressuring authorities on an attention already provided.”
The statement went on to say that “The National Migration Institute (INM) of the Secretariat of the Interior reproaches violations against the physical and psychological integrity of migrant persons by exposing them to senseless actions, like the self harm they inflicted today by sewing or stitching their lips,” according to The Hill.
INM told Reuters that it has continued to process cases of migrants claiming to seek asylum, giving priority to children, teens, pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly, and purported crime victims. The process is slow, however, as INM receives more than a hundred asylum applicants every day.
One mother who stitched her lips together was holding her daughter, claiming she had participated in the protest for her child and lamented the fact that her daughter “has not eaten anything in the last few hours.” The woman then claimed she and others “are like prisoners here,” before telling Reuters she has been waiting a month for a response from INM about her immigration status.
The crisis at the United States’ southern border has exploded under the Biden administration and continues to deteriorate. U.S. officials at the Department of Homeland Security recently said they were preparing for a “significantly larger” number of illegal immigrants in the Spring, projecting as many as 9,000 arrests a day, The Daily Wire reported.
“The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden grappled with a record-breaking 1.7 million border arrests last fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30. In July 2021 – the peak of last year’s rise – daily migrant arrests averaged about 6,500, according to government statistics,” Reuters reported. “The nearly unprecedented number of arrests, which included many repeat crossers, caused backups of unaccompanied children in crowded border patrol stations …”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection didn’t release December’s number of illegal border crossings until late January, releasing a statement saying “The number of unique individuals encountered in December 2021 was 135,040, a 5 percent increase in the number of unique individuals encountered the prior month.”
“In total, there were 178,840 encounters along the Southwest land border in December, a 2 percent increase compared to November,” the agency added.
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