- Written by Thomas McIntosh and Vanessa Buchschlüter
- BBC News
Thousands of migrants set out on foot from southern Mexico in an attempt to reach the US border.
It is estimated that about 7,000 people, mostly from South and Central America, including thousands of children, have joined the migrant caravan.
They left a few days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met to discuss how to curb mass migration with the Mexican president
Many border crossings have been closed recently due to the influx of migrants.
White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said that US President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador share concern about the “dramatic” increase in the number of migrants crossing their common border.
The number of people apprehended at the southern border of the United States exceeded two million in the fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
The latest migrant caravan departed from the southern Mexican city of Tapachula, near the country's southern border with Guatemala, on Christmas Eve.
Its leaders carried a banner reading “Out of Poverty.”
Local media said most of the migrants came from Cuba, Haiti and Honduras, but some came from as far away as Bangladesh and India.
Many said they decided to join the caravan after waiting several months to obtain transit permits.
Migrant rights activist Luis Garcia Villagran, who is accompanying the caravan, said joining the group trek north was a last resort for many migrants who were stuck in Tapachula.
“The problem is that the southern border [with Guatemala] It is open and is visited by between 800 and 1,000 people daily. If we don't get out of Tapachula, the city will collapse.
He added: “We tell the Mexican state that it has left us no other choice but to take the coastal highway and walk as far as possible.”
The migrants covered a distance of approximately 15 kilometers on the morning of the first day, after setting off at dawn on December 24.
One Honduran migrant said he left his homeland to escape a criminal gang that threatened to kill him.
“I was afraid so I decided to come to Mexico in the hope that I would be allowed to go to the United States,” Jose Santos told Reuters news agency.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday that he was ready to work again with the United States to address concerns about migration.
The Mexican leader is scheduled to meet with the US Secretary of State on Wednesday.
Their meeting comes at a time when increasing immigration is a hot political topic in the United States, with mounting pressure on President Biden to stop the flow across the southern border of the United States.
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