Updated: Feb 18
A Mexican official claimed that most Haitian migrants aren't refugees and don't want to be refugees, they just want to get into the United States.
Andres Ramirez, head of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR), made the comments in an interview with Reuters while discussing the plight of Haitians in Mexico.
"They're not really refugees, they don't even want to be refugees," Ramirez said Monday. "The majority want to get to the United States."
Haitian migrants are becoming a drain on resources in Mexico after many were refused entry to the United States in a recent influx from Latin America. Many of the Haitians left their home country after an earthquake in 2010 and resettled in Brazil and Chile.
Ramirez says that the massive influx of Haitians returned to Mexico have applied for refugee status there in hopes of achieving some kind of legal status. He says the surge has overwhelmed his office, which is "detrimental to genuine refugees, who we can't serve because there are too many Haitians."
Ramirez wants Mexico to provide a kind of humanitarian legal status to some of the Haitian migrants in order to ease the demand for refugee status.
"What concerns me is when I know someone isn't a refugee, and they come to us because they have no other option," Ramirez explained.
One Haitian migrant speaking to Global News confirmed much of what Ramirez claimed.
"We the Haitians travel by foot, we fight against everything to get here, we spend a lot of money," said Maria Sola Saint Forth, translated from Spanish.
"We are asking the government to help us, to give us (asylum) papers, because if some of us get our papers, we can start working and earning money," she said. "We can get a better life. Afterwards, we can think about going to another country. But without the paperwork, people travel to the Texas border."
President Joe Biden has been heavily criticized by those claiming that his softer tone on immigration enforcement has encouraged migrants from making the dangerous trek through Latin America to attempt to gain entry into the United States.