The Embassy of Honduras to Mexico and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced a new program for Honduran migrants waiting in Mexico for their asylum applications to be processed to the United States.
Called the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) program and financed by the IOM, it provides air travel for Honduran asylum applicants to leave Mexico and return home if they choose not wait on the results of their application for asylum into the U.S.
The first group of 129 Hondurans chose to return home after months of waiting on their asylum applications in northern Mexico. The group left from the city of Matamoros, and IOM intends on continuing the program in the coming months.
Honduran Ambassador to Mexico Alden Rivera-Montes said that 55 families were among the first group of returnees, including 32 men, 30 women, and 65 minors; there were also two single adults. The AVR program will be also available for Honduran migrants in Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juarez, and Tijuana in the near future.
The "Remain in Mexico" agreement between the U.S. and Mexico requires migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico while their applications are processed. The new policy may have had an impact on Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S.; thousands from the Northern Triangle nations of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have instead applied for asylum in Mexico.