Some undocumented migrants on Mexico’s southern border sewed their mouths shut on Tuesday, February 15 in a bid to convince Mexico’s immigration authority to grant them passage toward the U.S. border.
The migrants, mostly Central and South Americans, helped each other seal their lips using needles and plastic threads, leaving a small space to consume liquids and using alcohol to wipe away drops of blood from the stitches, photos show .
“The migrants are sewing their lips together as a sign of protest,” said Irineo Mujica, an activist at the demonstration.
“We hope that the National Migration Institute can see that they are bleeding, that they are human beings.”
Mexico’s migration agency (INM) said in a public statement 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.”
Some migrants could be seen carrying their children when they staged the dramatic protest in Tapachula, a border city with Guatemala, which for months has been filled with thousands of migrants waiting for papers to be able to freely cross the country.
“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.
In recent years, the number of migrants arriving in Mexico from other South American countries fleeing violence and poverty has increased . In 2021, Mexico recorded an 87% increase in the number of asylum applications, mainly from Haitians and Hondurans.