MEXICO CITY, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Mexico welcomes asylum seekers but rejects becoming a transit corridor for migrants headed north, Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero said on Thursday.
"Mexico will always be a country of refuge, a country of asylum, certainly a hospitable country, but if all they want is to transit through our country, that is not our aim, nor will it be our purpose," the minister said during a ceremony for World Refugee Day.
Mexico has tightened security at its southern border in a bid to curb the rising influx of Central American migrants headed to the United States.
More than 521,000 migrants passed through Mexico in the first five months of the year, according to official estimates, which often overload the services and capacities of towns along the route and at the U.S. border.
At the same time, the number of applications for Mexican asylum has risen sharply, she noted, with nearly 24,500 requests so far this year, mainly from Hondurans.