Thousands of migrants trekking through Mexico demand buses to take them north
Tapachula, Mexico, Apr 24 (EFE).- The thousands of migrants in the “Way of the Cross” caravan who are hiking northward from Mexico’s southern border toward Mexico City on Monday demanded that buses be provided to transport them, documents be issued to them to regularize their immigration status and a dialogue between them and the Mexican government be launched.
On the second day since the massive group set out from far southern Mexico en route to the United States, the migrants left Ejido Alvaro Obregon and trekked about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to the park in the city of Huehuetan, in Chiapas state, where they say they will stage protests if the authorities do not respond to their demands.
The Mexican government estimates that some 3,500 migrants make up the caravan in question, the largest such group so far this year, although its members and activists say that it numbers closer to 5,000 people, many of them from Central America but including others from a number of other nations.
The thousands of migrants and the Pueblos Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) organization are looking to arrive in Mexico City to meet with Mexican authorities and denounce the deaths of migrants caused by the immigration police, as well as the deaths of 40 migrants almost a month ago in a fire at a government-run migrant center in Ciudad Juarez, on the US border.
Esli Coslo, from Ecuador, told EFE that all the migrants who set out on Sunday from Tapachula, on the border with Guatemala, will stick together.
“We’re all going forward together, all of us must be here. We don’t need to divide up, it has to be a group. We all left Tapachula, we all have the same destination to get to, and that’s that we want to get out of this jail and not go backwards,” she said.
Julio Antonio, from El Salvador, said he fled his country because Mara Salvatrucha gangmembers killed his brother and his son, and so he migrated to Mexico.
When he didn’t get any response from authorities in Tapachula, he joined the “Viacrucis migrante” (Migrant Way of the Cross) caravan.
“Let’s see if the government can send trucks (to get us to) Mexico City and, if there’s no answer, we’ll keep on walking until we get to Monterrey (in northern Mexico), if God allows it, because the truth of all migrants is that we have the right to support ourselves (economically),” he said.
Meanwhile, the director of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, Irineo Mujica, said that nobody in the caravan will return to Tapachula and that their main demand is for the Mexico government to provide a means of transport whereby they can get to Mexico City without walking the entire way.
“We’re going to stage protest actions and that’ll mean whatever (organizers) say it’ll mean. It could be an option. Some of the actions that we’ve done before are to block highways, sew our lips shut, go on a hunger strike,” he said.
While the caravan is moving northwards, Mexico’s interior secretary, Adan Augusto Lopez, promised to attend to the migrants and confirmed that Mexico is “the country of open doors.”
The caravan is yet more evidence of the ongoing unprecedented migrant flow in the region, where more than 2.76 million undocumented migrants have been intercepted by the US on its border with Mexico so far during Fiscal Year 2022, which runs from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023.
Meanwhile, the Mexican government reported an annual increase of more than 43 percent in the number of “people in an irregular situation in Mexico” during 2022, meaning illegal migrants without documentation, when a total of 444,439 people were detected meeting that definition.