Thousands of immigrants marched to America in a caravan in Mexico
Thousands of immigrants flocked to the extreme south of Mexico and made their way to the United States. The initiative is a response to a ban imposed by Mexican authorities on the free movement of migrants, aimed at restricting arrivals at the country's northern border.
The migrant caravan leaves the city of Tapachula on the Guatemalan border (1,150 km south of the capital) and intends to reach the Mexican border with the United States, nearly 3,000 km north. Approximately 10,000 people, including Latin Americans, Africans and Asians, walked out of the municipality in Chiapas province this Sunday (24).
“With dignity, let us walk till we reach the goal. There are 24 nationalities, mainly from Honduras, Cuba, Haiti, but also from Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil. We also have Iranians, Pakistanis, Hindus, people from Syria, China, Bangladesh and many African countries,” Luis Rey García Villagrán, director of the Center for Human Dignity, who travels with the group of migrants, explains to RFI.
After spending several months in Dappachula in dire poverty, the group decided to cross over. The caravan that started on Sunday has grown and, along with other migrants, has reached 14,000 people.
“They are very needy, abandoned in Tapachula for seven or eight months, they don't get help from the National Migration Agency, that's why we decided to walk. We're on the third day of the walk, and based on the number of people walking along the coastal road in Chiapas, it's the biggest movement of people of this size walking together. I think,” says García Villagrán.
“I think this is the first time in the history of southeastern Mexico that we see women and children walking on the roads, instead of looking at the trees. “We hope to have a group of 16,000 people when we leave Chiapas, so a lot of people will come to Mexico City,” warns the director of the NGO.
Immigrants in the hands of organized crime
In September, the Mexican National Migration Institute, the government body responsible for migrants, suspended issuing permits to travel through Mexico. NGOs in Tapachula condemn the chaotic humanitarian situation.
“The government of Mexico left us in the hands of organized crime, that is, the cartels, because they refused to give us documents and comply with the laws and regulations on migration and asylum in Mexico, and the migrants decided to leave with the coyotes. Human traffickers and this put many women and children at risk. Therefore, “The safest way is to walk ten or twelve hours a day under the scorching sun of the Chiapas coast,” explains García Villagrán.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has acknowledged that the flow of migrants has increased in recent months. In recent weeks, U.S. Border Patrol has seen more than 10,000 people try to enter the U.S. per day, a higher rate than in previous weeks.
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