Responding to the Global Detention Project survey, Mexico’s immigration authority, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), did not provide answers to the survey question but responded with an explanation of measures taken to protect detained migrants from Covid-19 contagion.
The INM explained that on 4 March, their officials at all different levels, including those working in detention centres (estancias y estaciones migratorias), were made aware of measures they should be taken to minimise the risks of infection. On 17 March, all immigration authority staff were informed of the work undertaken by the Mexican government to prevent the spread of the disease.
The INM provided a list of recommendations that were provided to staff and detainees in Mexico’s immigration detention centres. These include:
– Avoiding close contact with ill-persons;
– Avoid touching one’s eyes, mouth and nose;
– Remaining at home if one is ill;
– Covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing;
– Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which are frequently used, with cleaning products;
– Using face-masks;
– Frequently washing one’s hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after eating, going to the bathroom and sneezing or coughing;
– If no water or soap are available, using disinfectant to wash one’s hands;
– Taking one’s temperature three times a day;
– Constantly cleaning the centres;
– Strictly monitoring cooking facilities and staff must follow hygiene protocols including, using masks and gloves to protect food from contamination;
– Serving food at different times to avoid overcrowding during breakfast, lunch and dinner times;
– Avoiding grouping people so as to respect social distancing; and
– Consistently disinfecting phones that are used by detainees and staff members.
The INM also mentioned that a protocol on procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and measures to take in case of infection within immigration detention centres was published on their website in April (listed as a source below).
The Mexican immigration authority said that following recommendations by Mexican health authorities as well as national and international human rights organisations, vulnerable groups were released from detention. The INM mentioned that religious institutions have accommodated many released migrants in their facilities.
- Instituto Nacional de Migracion, Global Detention Project Covid-19 survey, 17 June 2020.
- Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Protocolo de Actuación en las Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del Instituto Nacional de Migración,” 20 April 2020, https://www.gob.mx/inm/documentos/protocolo-de-actuacion-en-las-estaciones-migratorias-y-estancias-provisionales?idiom=es
- Migrants Waiting for their Turn at an Immigration Office at the Guatemala-Mexico Border, (AFP, “4 Novedades de la Caravana Migrante que Partió de Honduras a Estados Unidos,” BBC News, 18 January 2019, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-46914252)