Social Issues

Mexico pre-empts migrant caravan with regularization offer

By Juan Manuel Blanco

Tapachula, Mexico, Apr 16 (EFE).- Hundreds of migrants who spent months waiting in this city on the Guatemalan border to be issued documents allowing them to cross Mexico en route to the United States aborted a planned caravan to Mexico City on Saturday after the INM immigration agency promised to provide transit permits.

The roughly 800 Central Americans, Haitians, Venezuelan, and Africans making up the “Migrant Way of the Cross” caravan set out from Tapachula on foot around 7:00 am.

“We don’t come to make trouble, we just want them to let us advance. Because migration (the INM) is telling us many lies, because they don’t give us permits and we can no longer be in Tapachula,” Leonel Mejia of Venezuela told Efe.

Another participant in the caravan, Alexander Sola, said he was ready to walk as far as necessary to get the documents he needs to reach the US.

“We ask that they not keep us because we are exhausting the resources we need to cross to the United States,” he said.

The caravan traveled about 8 km (5 mi) to the first checkpoint, where they found INM officials who proposed a dialogue.

Talks between the INM’s Hugo Salvador Cuellar and a delegation of 10 migrants resulted in an agreement that saw the caravan members board a score of buses for the ride to a facility in Huixtla where they will obtain transit permits on Monday.

Luis Rey Garcia Villagran, director of the Center for Human Dignity, provided lists of the migrants to the INM and to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

“We are thankful that they have attended to us and we hope that we all arrive in the same place (Huixtla) and they don’t disperse us,” Venezuelan migrant Yamila Suarez said of the accord with the INM.

The Migrant Way of the Cross caravan is the third contingent of migrants to win concessions from the INM by setting out from Tapachula.

The region is experiencing a record flow of migrants trying to make their way to the US, whose Customs and Border Protection agency intercepted a record 1.7 million undocumented migrants trying to enter the country illegally in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2021.

Mexico deported more than 114,000 undocumented migrants last year, according to the Government Secretariat’s Migration Policy Unit.

And Mexican authorities received a record 131,448 asylum requests last year, more than 51,000 of them from Haitians. EFE


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