BARRIO – The number of Ecuadorians traveling to Mexico in hopes of reaching the United States jumped exponentially last year amid a wave of violence and shrinking job opportunities at home.
“We’ve never seen violence like this before,” said Monica, a 30-year-old Ecuadorian in Mexico who fled after criminals threatened to kill her when she could not make extortion payments to continue selling food.
Murder rates in Ecuador leapt in 2022 to 25.32 per 100,000 people, up from 14.06 per 100,000 people the year before, according to police data.
“We want to go to the United States, we know that Mexico is not safe either,” Monica added, declining to give her last name.
Migrants are increasingly staying in Mexico after being unable to reach the United States, while others are deported back to Mexico after crossing the border.
Last year 22,156 Ecuadorians entered Mexico without proper documentation, according to immigration data, up from 1,384 in 2021.
Mexico extended a visa requirement last year for Ecuadorians, with the aim of deterring migrants from passing through the country to the United States.