In theory all migrants have access to healthcare in Mexico, the reality is they can rarely go to public hospitals.
Chiapas, Mexico – For 28-year-old Miguel living in the Mexico-Guatemala border town of Ciudad Hidalgo in the Mexican state of Chiapas, social distancing or quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic is nearly impossible.
Miguel, who fled persecution from the authorities in Nicaragua in September 2019 after he joined anti-government protests, was denied asylum in Mexico this year, and consequently lost his right to work, leaving him unemployed and homeless.
“I was thinking about handing myself in to [the National Institute of Migration (INM)]” he said. But the conditions inside INM detention centres are not much better, he added, citing reports of overcrowding, extended detentions and crackdowns on detainees who have demanded their release due to the pandemic. Since the beginning of 2020, there have been several riots inside the infamous Siglo XXI in Chiapas, the largest detention centre in Latin America, with detainees begging to be released.
Miguel’s dilemma comes as Mexico’s total confirmed coronavirus cases swells to more than 282,200, and almost 34,000 deaths. In late March, the country implemented a lockdown, but has since started to reopen sections of the economy and announced plans to ease social distancing guidelines, despite the surge in cases – there are currently 5,086 confirmed cases in Chiapas.