ARIaga, Mexico (AP) — A caravan of about 2,000 migrants resumed its journey Monday through southern Mexico, after participants were left without the papers the Mexican government appeared to have promised.
the The original caravan included about 6,000 migrants From Venezuela, Cuba and Central America they started walking on Christmas Eve. But after New Year's Day, the government convinced them to abandon their march, promising them unspecified documents.
The migrants were seeking transit or exit visas that might allow them to board buses or trains to the US border. But they were given papers that do not allow them to leave the southern state of Chiapas, on the border with Guatemala.
The migrants set out on foot Monday from the railway town of Arriaga, near the border with Oaxaca state, about 150 miles (245 kilometers) from Tapachula, where they arrived. The original convoy started on 24 December.
Salvadoran immigrant Rosa Vasquez said that Mexican immigration officials provided her with shelter in the town of Huixtla, Chiapas, and provided her with papers that would have allowed her to remain in the state.
But work is scarce there, and local residents are largely poor.
Vazquez said: “Immigration lied to us. They made promises they did not keep.” “They just wanted to break up the group, but they were wrong, because we are all here and we are going to start walking.”
Coritza Matamoros, a migrant from Honduras, was also taken to a local shelter with her husband and two children, even though she thought she would be sent to Mexico City.
“They really tricked us, made us think we were being taken to Mexico City,” Matamoros said. “They made us sign documents.”
For now, the caravan hopes to reach a town further away in Oaxaca.
In the past, Mexico has allowed migrants to pass because it is confident that they will tire of walking along the highway. No migrant caravan has ever traveled the distance of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to the United States border.
US officials in December He discussed ways Mexico could help stem the flow of migrants During a meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Lopez Obrador confirmed that US officials We want Mexico to do more to prevent migrants On its southern border with GuatemalaOr make it difficult for them to move through Mexico by train, truck or bus – a policy known as “disagreement.”
The Mexican government then felt pressure to address this problem US officials briefly shut down Two vital rail border crossings in Texas, allegedly overloaded with migrant processing.
This has led to a clampdown on shipments moving from Mexico to the United States, as well as grain needed to feed Mexican livestock moving south. The railway crossings have since reopened, but the message is clear.
The Department of Homeland Security Secretary spoke in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday Alejandro Mayorkas We discussed the spike in border crossings seen in December across the southwest border.
“It coincides with a time when Mexican law enforcement was no longer enforced. Mexico's immigration enforcement agency was not funded,” Mayorkas said.
On December 1, the head of Mexico's immigration agency ordered the suspension of migrant deportations and transfers due to lack of funds in an internal agency memo. López Obrador later said that the immigration agency was prompted by a financial deficit Suspension of deportations and other operations The issue was resolved, and some migrations later resumed.
Recently, the number of migrants crossing the border has dropped dramatically from a daily average of 10,000 border crossings to 2,500 by the beginning of January, but Mayorkas remained skeptical about the reason for the sudden drop in arrests.
“It is too early to know whether the significant decrease in the number of encounters we have seen over the past week is a result of the season, the holiday season, or whether it is a result of the fact that Mexican authorities have resumed activity,” Mayorkas said. “Law enforcement operations may be a combination of both together”.
Migrants in the caravan on Monday Single adults included But also entire families, all eager to reach the US border, angry and frustrated at having to wait weeks or months in the nearby city of Tapachula for documents that might allow them to continue their journey.
Mexico says it detected 680,000 migrants moving through the country in the first 11 months of 2023.
In May, Mexico agreed to this It receives immigrants from countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba Those rejected by the United States for not following rules that provide new legal pathways to asylum and other forms of immigration.
But this deal, aimed at curbing the post-pandemic migration surge, appears insufficient as numbers rise again, disrupting bilateral trade and stoking anti-immigrant sentiment.
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