Social Issues

Mexico’s migrant crisis deepens with launch of new caravan

By Juan Manuel Blanco

Tapachula, Mexico, Nov 18 (EFE).- The migration crisis in Mexico intensified Thursday with the departure of another caravan of undocumented travelers from this city on the border with Guatemala while an earlier procession continued to make its way north through the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Some 3,000 people, most of them Central Americans or Haitians, left Tapachula intending to reach Mexico City, where they hope to obtain permits allowing them to remain in Mexico or at least to cross the Aztec nation en route to the United States.

The group began their journey before dawn to avoid the subtropical heat and humidity.

The spokesman for the new caravan, Luis Rey Garcia Villagran, asked Mexico’s INM immigration agency to provide assurances that the humanitarian travel documents issued several weeks ago to some among the contingent that are now in Veracruz will be valid throughout the country.

Among the people who set out from here Thursday was Honduran migrant Josue Ignacio, who complained that the INM took away the temporary residence permits he and his family had managed to obtain.

“We had a one-year permit, we were working in Monterrey and we wanted to visit family in another state” and the INM revoked their authorization, he told Efe.

Though four previous caravans experienced rough treatment at the hands of the INM and Mexico’s National Guard, the latest procession was allowed to pass unchallenged when the migrants came upon a checkpoint 11 km (6.8 mi) from Tapachula.

The caravan now in Veracruz, which started with some 5,000 people, has dwindled to around 300, according to authorities. Another 50 migrants abandoned the procession on Thursday to take up an offer of regularization from the INM.

The 500-km journey from Chiapas has taken a heavy toll on a group that includes numerous families with young children.

The caravans are just a small part of a record flow of migrants trying to make their way to the US, whose Customs and Border Protection agency says that more than 1.5 million people were arrested at the southern border with Mexico during the 2021 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

Mexican immigration authorities said they detected more than 190,000 migrants between January and September, or triple the number for that same period of 2020, and deported nearly 74,300 people.

On Wednesday, the INM discovered 195 migrants who spent days without food or water packed into rooms at a hotel in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. EFE


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