African surge coming to Mexican border

A new wave of African refugees is adding to immigration pressure on the US/Mexico border.
A new wave of African refugees is adding to immigration pressure on the US/Mexico border.

Border patrol agents on the US-Mexico border are being confronted with a new wave of people fleeing economic hardship and human rights abuses in African countries.

There's been an unprecedented increase in African migrants, who've made a harrowing overland journey of thousands of kilometres, after flying to South America.

In one recent week, agents in the Border Patrol's Del Rio sector stopped more than 500 African migrants found walking in separate groups along the arid land after splashing across the Rio Grande, children in tow.

That's more than double the total of African migrants who were detained along the US-Mexico border in the 2018 fiscal year.

The immigrants in Texas were mostly from the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. Cameroonians have also been travelling up through Mexico and into the US in larger numbers and seeking asylum at ports of entry.

Cameroonians generally fly to Ecuador because no visa is required and take about four months to reach Tijuana.

They come from Cameroon's English-speaking south with horrifying stories of rape, murder and torture committed since late 2016 by soldiers of the country's French-speaking majority, which holds power.

Mexico is on pace to triple the number of African immigrants it is processing this year, up from 2,100 in 2017.

The explosion in immigration to the US from sub-Saharan Africa coincides with a steep drop in the migration flow across the Mediterranean to Europe after European countries and two main embarkation points - Turkey and Libya - decided to crack down.

From Jan. 1 to June 12, only 24,600 migrants arrived in Europe by sea, compared to 99,600 over the same period in 2017, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Australian Associated Press