La Cruz Authorities Estimate 700 African and Haitian Immigrants in Canton

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The canton of La Cruz might be facing a new migrant crisis involving Africans, Haitians and even Asians. For that reason, a meeting of various state institutions was held on Tuesday, May 18, to seek solutions for the current immigration problems affecting the area.

Vice Mayor Rosa Emilia Molina participated in the meeting, along with Second Vice Mayor Oscar Cid, in addition to officials from the Ministry of Health, Red Cross, Firefighters and Public Force.

Second Vice Mayor of La Cruz Oscar Cid (right).

There isn’t a definite number of people housed at Peñas Blancas. It is estimated to be perhaps 700 or 800 among those who are from diverse nationalities (Haitians, Africans, Asians and South Americans). All of them have been accumulating since the authorization for these people to enter the country. Nicaragua has established a police barrier to prevent their entrance into their territory; however, the migrants continue to try illegally entering to get to Honduras,” explained Cid.

In mid-April, more than 600 Africans from countries including Congo, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mozambique and Togo, among others, were held up at Nicaragua’s southern border. However, since May, 380 of them have been able to move throughout Costa Rica with a document granting them permission.

For now, the canton’s authorities have seen some Africans and Haitians in public areas and others squatting on farms.

They relieve themselves in the open air and in the river they also bathe. They eat whatever is available. They have no help from no one,” said the second vice mayor.

He added that it is impossible to create a list using their immigration status, as many have no identification papers of any kind.

The Red Cross is sending personnel to certain farms, as there have already been reports of people with illnesses who do not want to go to hospitals out of fear of being deported.

During the meeting, it was agreed that each of the directors of government institutions will look for ways to elevate the request for help to higher officials within each entity, to avoid a larger crisis in the border communities.

On April 14, President Luis Guillermo Solis visited the community of La Cruz and, at an event in the park, stated that more refugees would not be allowed in the canton.