From forced exodus to a better life: providing essential information helps migrants regain hope

Publication date: Jul 25, 2022

In the last 30 years, the number of migrants from Central America has increased by 137%, from 6.82 million to almost 16.2 million. In Mexico alone, in the first half of 2022, 58,642 people requested asylum, an increase of 14.88% compared to the same period in 2021, according to a report by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR). These 58,642 requests were made by people from 105 countries, with Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti among the most frequent nationalities. The continued worsening of this migration crisis makes it essential to expand the project, not only in Mexico, but also in other countries in the region.

Since the migrants’ situation is constantly changing, TSF is improving the quality of the information materials on an ongoing basis. We are currently working on creating a database of the services that each centre offers, such as consultations with a psychologist, access to a local temporary job pool, or legal assistance for refugees. This support during their journey ensures that they have all the information they need and protects them by avoiding them feeling alone and vulnerable.  Access to this information also allows them to make informed decisions throughout their journey.

In one of our last visits, we met Sofia (her name has been changed to protect her identity) at Casa Nicolas in Guadalupe, Mexico, and she shared parts of her story with us. She escaped violence and extortion in Honduras and travelled in a caravan with other migrants. With her two daughters and three brothers, they travelled through several cities until they reached Guadalupe. There, they found the shelter Casa Nicolás and stayed for a while. At the centre, Sofia saw the screen and learned about the dangers of crossing the border, especially when traveling with minors. As a result, she decided to stay to request asylum.

"When I saw the screen I started to analyse the situation, I saw information from COMAR and I decided it was better to stay here. What we want is to survive. I realised how exposed you are on the way to the border from Monterrey.” All members of her family are now permanent residents, they settled in Monterrey and have no intention of going to the United States. Sofia currently works at Casa Nicolás as a cook and she looks at the screen from time to time: "I think the screen is excellent, the warnings, the information is very relevant. I’ve seen the information has improved a lot, especially the travel advice. I would like more shelters to have this kind of screens”.

Sofias words are one of the best kinds of motivation for us, not only to keep working and improving the information we share, but also to keep expanding the project. Hundreds of thousands of people transit through Mexico every year, facing dangers and uncertainty about their future. Many migrants leave their homes in a state of emergency due to local violence and lack of economic welfare. Providing information about their rights, safety, and legal opportunities gives them the tools to navigate the obstacles they find throughout their route. It gives them hope that a better quality of life is not only possible, but their given right. In this unstable and uncertain migration situation, this shift in mindset makes refugees less vulnerable to the risks they face every day.

Improving the situation of migrants is seen by all as a humanitarian emergency. The north of Central America is defined by the United Nations Refugee Agency as one of the most dangerous places on the planet. Violence, poverty, droughts and their consequences mean that for thousands of people, leaving their homes is not a choice, but a need for survival. And the situation is only getting worse. While a better migration policy is needed, the root causes of these crises can only be addressed through strong commitments beyond the regional level.

Related mission