In 2019, about 5,800 African migrants headed to the U.S. by way of Mexico, according to data cited by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.
Last year, that figure was 2,700, the report said.
The 2019 figures have shown a significant rise since 2007, when Mexico first included African migrants in its annual migration reports. That year, the number of African migrants was only 460.
Guerline Jozef, the director and co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said she was surprised to meet migrants from Haiti, Congo, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone waiting to enter the U.S. from Tijuana back in 2016.
“At the time, honestly, I did not believe it,” she said. “Not, almost four years later, we have thousands and thousands of black migrants.”
Rebecca Alemayehu, a California-based immigration lawyer, said despite obstacles African migrants faced, there was no evidence their numbers were slowing down. She said African migrants have arrived at the Mexico-Guatemala border every day.
“What I think for me is shocking and just really sad is that a lot of these asylum seekers just don’t have enough representation,” Alemayehu said. “They are in these hearings by themselves.”
With the number of African migrants increasing, U.S. elected officials have taken notice.
Last month, members from the Congressional Black Caucus visited black migrants at the border.
“There are record numbers of African immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border, particularly as Europe closes its doors to migrants,” they said in a statement.