Social Issues

Migrants stuck in southern Mexico gear up for new caravan

Tapachula, Mexico, Mar 30 (EFE).- Hundreds of migrants trying to reach the United States who have spent weeks – or months – waiting for transit permits in this city near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala said Wednesday that they plan to set out from Tapachula on April 1 bound for the Mexican capital.

With Holy Week on the horizon, the organizers of the latest in a series of caravans are calling it the “Migrant Way of the Cross.”

In Mexico City, the migrants hope to receive the prompt attention of immigration authorities that they say has been lacking in Tapachula, where they remain camped out in a park, with only tents to protect them from the elements.

The migrants gathered Wednesday in a public square to finalize their plans.

Feeling unwanted in Tapachula, they see no alternative to making their way north on foot, Venezuelan migrant Diego Samalun told Efe, adding that he and the others are ready to walk as far as necessary to regularize their status in Mexico.

Ahead of the journey, organizers have filed more than 1,200 legal motions asking the courts to bar the INM immigration agency from detaining or deporting the migrants.

The director of the Center for Human Dignity, Luis Rey Garcia Villagran, told media outlets that in light of the poor living conditions in Tapachula, the migrants are prepared to accept the risks of travel.

Organizers have requested buses to accommodate the elderly, small children, and pregnant women in the group, he said.

Tapachula remains “ground zero” for the migration crisis in the Americas, according to Garcia Villagran.

“For many, their dreams begin or end here,” he said, appealing again to the INM to provide the migrants with transit permits to facilitate their trek across Mexico.

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 in 2021, according to the Government Secretariat’s Migration Policy Unit, while the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid received a record 131,448 asylum applications.

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

Mexico has been criticized for its treatment of the migrants and for deploying more than 28,000 military elements on its northern and southern borders.

During a visit to Tapachula earlier this month, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that he planned to travel in May to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and Cuba for talks with those governments on his proposals to “address the causes” of the migration crisis by providing economic opportunity. EFE jmb/dr

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