• Press Release

Dr. López-Gatell Must Support the Release of Migrants in Mexico Due to COVID-19

An asylum seeker staying at the Juventud 2000 migrant shelter in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, sprays disinfectant on tents on April 3, 2020 as stronger cleaning measures are being implemented to fight the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. - Thousands of migrants overcrowding shelters or begging in the streets in Mexican cities along the US border are living in fear as the novel coronavirus spreads in the population and screening interviews for asylum seekers are being suspended. (Photo by Guillermo ARIAS / AFP) (Photo by GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Amnesty International sent an open letter today to the Undersecretary of Prevention and the Promotion of Health, Dr Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, the maximum authority on the response to COVID-19 in the country, to express its concerns about the lack of protection of the health of migrants and people in need of international protection in Mexico.

“Dr. Lopez-Gatell has been very clear that the best way to protect oneself from contracting COVID-19 is through social distancing; likewise, the Ministry of the Interior has publicly stated that the migrant population is among the most vulnerable. However, the lack of a strong response from the National Migration Institute to protect the lives and release of people in migration detention is extremely alarming,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International is concerned that, despite pronouncements by Mexican authorities regarding measures to protect the health of migrants, in practice, the National Migration Institute constantly puts the lives of these people at risk either by keeping them in detention or abandoning them at the country’s borders.

“Amnesty International urges Dr Lopez-Gatell to make a public recommendation to the National Migration Institute, urging it to immediately release everyone in immigration detention and provide access to accommodation and health services to the migrant and refugee population in Mexico to protect them from the threat of COVID-19,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.

Read more:

Americas: Governments must halt dangerous and discriminatory detention of migrants and asylum seekers (News, April 2, 2020)