Over 1,000 caravan migrants turn themselves in to US border authorities

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Dec 12 (EFE).- After traveling for months, during which they were kidnapped by organized crime groups, 1,500 caravan migrants arrived in northern Mexico on Monday to turn themselves in to border patrol authorities and request asylum in the United States.

Buses transporting the migrants from Mexico City handed them over to organized crime groups in the northern city of Durango. They were crammed into a house in that state and money demanded for their release.

A ticket, which one of the migrants kept, shows their date of departure from Mexico City as Dec. 4.

The migrants were rescued during an operation by National Guard agents and escorted to their destination in the border city of Ciudad Juárez.

There, they crossed the Rio Grande River en masse in among the largest single crossings into the US from Mexico.

“We were asked to support. We receive groups of families. Inside the control center we give an employment link, all those who enter can have a formal job. Right now 3 trucks have arrived, with 600 people. They are families mainly from Ecuador and Nicaragua. Here in this shelter, people will be scattered because they do not all fit in this place,” Ana Laura Rodela, general coordinator of the Leona Vicario Migrant Integration Center, told EFE.

Despite the various shelters in the city, over 1,000 undocumented people turned themselves in to the US authorities, risking deportation, in an attempt to fix their immigration status.

“I am afraid and sad. An organized crime group in Durango caught us and told us they would take us to migration. We were kidnapped, they were armed people. We were held for five days until the National Guard helped us,” one of the migrants, Oscar Sanchez, from Nicaragua, said.

He added that most of the migrants wished to cross into the US, not remain in Mexico.

Mexico has the third highest number of refugee and asylum applications in the world.

In 2021, the country’s National Migration Institute received more than 131,000 refugee applications, of which only 38,000 have been resolved.

The region is experiencing a record migratory flow to the United States, whose Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency detained an unprecedented 2.76 million undocumented immigrants in the 2022 fiscal year, including a large number of Cubans and Venezuelans. EFE


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