Social Issues

Migrants in southern Mexico hold vigils ahead of new caravan

Tapachula, Mexico, Oct 17 (EFE).- Score of migrants of various nationalities were joined here Sunday by Mexican immigrants rights activists for the start of a series of vigils before the group of Central Americans and Haitians set out on yet another north-bound caravan.

Participants gathered in Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, to light candles and pray.

The migrants called on Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the head of the INM immigration agency, Francisco Garduño, to allow them to cross the country on their quest to reach the United States.

The INM detected 147,000 undocumented migrants on Mexican territory in the first eight months of 2021, a threefold increased compared with the same period last year.

While the migrants describe Tapachula as “great immigration prison,” their representatives say they have not given up hope of resolving their situation via talks with the Refugee Assistance Commission (COMAR).

The migrants are urging COMAR to engage in dialogue before Oct. 23, when the caravan is set to leave for Mexico City.

Four previous caravans of Haitian, Venezuelan and Central American migrants that left Tapachula with the aim of reaching the United States were broken up by Mexican authorities.

Images and videos of those encounters showed Mexican soldiers and National Guard personnel beating migrants.

Irineo Mujica Arzate, director of Migrant Peoples United (PUM), said that the vigils are intended to draw sufficient attention to the plight of the migrants that they will be able to leave Tapachula, where many have been stuck for months.

On taking office in January, US President Joe Biden suspended predecessor Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which third-country nationals applying for asylum were required to await processing south of the border.

Though US courts have subsequently ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the program, news of the suspension spurred record numbers of migrants to make the dangerous journey across Mexico in pursuit of the “American Dream.”

In July, US authorities detained 212,672 undocumented migrants at the southern border, the highest one-month total in 20 years. EFE jmb/dr

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