In the first six months of 2019, more than 500,000 Central Americans entered Mexico illegally, more than triple the number for all of 2018, and five times more than in 2017.
In a presentation to Mexico's Senate last week, Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez Cordero said more than half a million Central American migrants entered the country from January through June 2019. They come mainly from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, and intend to continue to the United States. Sanchez Cordero said women and minors made up about 40 percent of the flow.
The National Migration Institute (INM) reported that 138,612 Central American migrants entered Mexico illegally during the full year of 2018, and 93,486 came in the entirety of 2017.
Not all of the migrants are headed to the United States. Mexico's refugee agency, COMAR, reports that it has received more than 46,000 asylum applications so far this year, with the total by the end of the year expected to reach 80,000, compared to about 29,000 for all of last year.
In her speech to the Senate, Sanchez Cordero also committed to issuing identity cards to all migrants in Mexico as necessary to protect their human rights.