22 foreigners kidnapped from Mexican hotel

The 38 kidnapped, including Mexicans, were found on the side of the highway in the northern state of San Luis Potosí.

Police in northern Mexico have found 38 people, including 22 Haitians and Cubans, who were abducted from a hotel, authorities said.

The chief prosecutor for the northern state of San Luis Potosí said the victims were found alive on the side of a highway Tuesday night, apparently abandoned by their captors.

Prosecutor Federico Garza Herrera said the group included 16 Mexicans and 22 foreigners, including three children and a pregnant woman.

It was not immediately clear whether the foreigners were asylum seekers or migrants. Initial reports suggested that some were Venezuelans. Immigration authorities were verifying his status in the country as authorities worked to demonstrate the motivation behind the kidnapping.

The kidnapping took place in a hotel in the city of Matehuala early Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors said three vans with gunmen arrived at the Hotel Sol y Luna before dawn and abducted the guests.

Some of the identification documents of the victims were found inside the rooms. The kidnappers also reportedly took the hotel’s guest registry.

The abductees were later found by the National Guard and the police on a highway on the outskirts of Matehuala after a caller said that a group of people were calling for help on the road.

Dangerous journey

Many asylum seekers and migrants hoping to reach the US face great danger along the way, with reports of kidnappings, extortion, rape, and even murder. Some are recruited to work for drug cartels fighting drug trafficking routes.

These people are often the hardest hit by infighting between criminal groups, and gangs often charge smugglers a fee per person traversing their territory.

Rival gangs also sometimes simply kidnap groups of asylum seekers and migrants from other traffickers.

In June, the New York-based organization Human Rights First reported that some 3,300 asylum seekers and migrants stranded in Mexico since January due to a US border policy had been kidnapped, raped, trafficked or assaulted.

The administration of President Joe Biden has used a health rule, citing the coronavirus pandemic, to steer most people away from the border. However, it has allowed unaccompanied minors to cross into the United States.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration had sought to end the so-called “Stay in Mexico” policy created under former President Donald Trump, which requires people seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed.

Attempts to end the program were blocked by a district judge. The Biden administration’s appeal of the ruling to the US Supreme Court was unsuccessful.


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