Mexico City, Mexico

The number of asylum applications in Mexico nearly doubled in 2021, the head of the country's commission for refugee assistance said on Monday, with most applications being from Haitian and Honduran migrants.

When compared to the previous year, the 131,448 applications mark an increase of 86.84 per cent, according to the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR).

"By far the main nationalities (who requested refuge) were Haitians and Hondurans," the head of COMAR, Andres Ramirez, said, adding that Cubans were a distant third.

Mexico Haitian migrants

Haitian migrants line up as they wait for a QR code to register their migratory situation, in Tapachula, in Chiapas state, Mexico, on 29th December, 2021. PICTURE: Reuters/Jose Torres/File photo.

The rise in the number of Haitians making their way through Mexico has been spurred by economic malaise, a devastating earthquake and political turmoil following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July.

In the previous two years, most applications were filed by Honduran migrants.

Some 72 per cent of those who applied for asylum in 2021 received a positive response, Ramirez said. Another two per cent were also granted complementary protection.

Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries have long been crossing Mexico on their way north towards the US border but in recent years, more and more migrants have applied for asylum in Mexico.