In a bid to convince Mexico’s immigration authority to let them cross the southern border into the U.S., 12 undocumented immigrants stitched up their mouths on Tuesday campaigning for free border passage.
Most of the migrants were from Central and South America, and they used needles and plastic threads to seal their lips.
Images shown by Reuters depict a small area where liquids could be consumed and blood could be wiped away from stitches with alcohol.
“The migrants are sewing their lips together as a sign of protest,” explained activist Irineo Mujica.
“We hope that the National Migration Institute can see that they are bleeding, that they are human beings.”
Mexico’s migration agency (INM) stated that “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.”
When the protesters staged the dramatic demonstration in Tapachula, a city near Guatemala, some were carrying their children.
There have been thousands of migrants waiting in the city for papers to cross the country freely.
“I’m doing it for my daughter,” said Yorgelis Rivera, a Venezuelan. “She has not eaten anything in the last few hours and I see no solution … from the authorities.”
“We are like prisoners here,” Rivera said, adding she has been waiting for a response from Mexico’s migration agency for more than a month.
The agency noted that it continues to pursue cases, adding that the agency prefers to help those who form vulnerable groups, including children, adolescents, pregnant women, crime victims, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
More than 100 applicants visit the institution’s offices in the southern city daily.
In recent years, the number of migrants fleeing poverty and violence and going into Mexico has increased.
Asylum applications from Haitians and Hondurans submission to Mexico increased by 87% in 2021.
As recommended by UNHCR, Mexico should consider new aid programs amid an influx of foreigners, mostly Venezuelans, for whom visas are now required by the country.