Many Central American migrants gave up on seeking asylum in the United States after Donald Trump won the election.
Instead, a large number of them settled on Mexico, which saw a 150 percent increase in asylum applications since the U.S. election, Reuters reports.
Between November 2016 and March, Mexico's refugee agency, COMAR, received 5,421 asylum applications, up from 2,148 over the same period in 2015 and 2016.
During the same period, the number of detentions at the U.S.-Mexico border also declined by roughly 4 percent.
President Trump’s tough immigration stance is likely the reason these Central American migrants put their travel plans on hold, but the “experts” Reuters spoke with are saying it’s too early to say whether that’s definitively the reason.
Perez said it was not yet fully clear whether the Trump factor was contributing to a rise in asylum applications that stretches back several years. But she said it was a possibility the agency would need to study further by asking applicants more Trump-focused questions.
Perez added that COMAR's work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other civil society groups in identifying the types of people who could be eligible for asylum had also helped drive up the numbers.
The UNHCR's spokeswoman in Mexico, Francesca Fontanini, said better conditions for Central American migrants arriving in the country, coupled with efforts to reunify families, were also contributing to the jump in the numbers of applicants.
But this increase, in addition to the fact that the number of Central American parents and children stopped at the Southwestern border dropped 93 percent from December to March, according to the Department of Homeland Security, means it’s probably safe to say Trump’s a big reason.