© Reuters. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has almost completely cleared state migrant shelters in the past five weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and has brought most residents back to their countries of origin, official data showed on Sunday.
In a statement, the National Migration Institute (INM) said it has removed migrants from its 65 migrant facilities, where 3,759 people lived in the past month, since March 21 to comply with health and safety policies.
In the past few weeks, Mexico has returned 3,653 migrants by road and air to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, leaving only 106 people in emergency shelters.
According to the INM, the institute's migrant accommodations have a total capacity of 8,524 places.
There are dozens of other accommodations run by various religious and non-governmental organizations across the country that continue to host migrants.
Among those who stayed at the INM shelters were migrants awaiting the outcome of asylum applications or trials, and others who specifically asked to stay, said an immigration official.
The vast majority of the people returned were migrants arrested by the authorities for illegally staying in Mexico, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Some didn't want to stay in shelters because of the risk of coronavirus infection, the official added.
Most migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
More than 80 Guatemalan migrants who were deported to their home countries from the USA were tested positive for the corona virus.
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