mexicans crossing border Going home for Christmas.

Police, Green Angels accompany travelers

Christmas visitors from California travel in convoy to Zacatecas

There’s safety in numbers when traveling some of Mexico’s highways, which was why Mexicans living in the United States chose to join a convoy to Zacatecas on the weekend.

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Federal Police and Green Angels met the 70 vehicles — loaded down with family members, Christmas presents and even furniture for relatives in Mexico — at the San Jerónimo-Santa Teresa border crossing between Chihuahua and New Mexico, and headed south for Zacatecas.

The initiative is intended to provide safe passage for Mexicans living in the U.S. and avoid extortion and other dangers.

For José Fernández of San Francisco, California, it’s all about safety, though he said if something is meant to happen, it will. But if a driver has a flat tire or mechanical problem, he said, there’s help at hand after which everyone continues the journey.

Their departure was not without fanfare. Officials from the National Immigration Institute (INM) and state politicians from Zacatecas were on hand to give the visitors a sendoff on their journey of more than 1,000 kilometers.

Joining the convoy for the first 40 kilometers, as far as the Samalayuca desert, were agents of Grupo Beta, or Beta Group, and Programa Paisano, or Fellow Citizens’ Program, both part of the INM and designed to aid migrants and Mexican citizens traveling from the U.S., respectively.

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Members of the convoy were among 70,000 Mexicans living in the U.S. who have already crossed the border into Chihuahua for the Christmas season, a segment of travelers whose numbers have risen 60% in the past five years. The state Economy Secretariat said they will mean an economic benefit of more than 140 million pesos this year.

There were long waits at the border crossing on Saturday, when vehicles were backed up for eight kilometers on the U.S. side.

The wait time to cross into Mexico was three hours or more.

Convoys have been standard practice for a few years between border cities in Tamaulipas and Ciudad Victoria in the south of the state.

Source: El Diario (sp), Excélsior (sp), La Parada Digital (sp)

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  • John

    I think it is a big relief for these travelers, but I also think it’s a real shame this is what’s required to travel these roads.

    • Yachats

      Not necessary unless traveling at night or on back roads. Don’t see any convoys from AZ to PV in our 4 years of travel. Never even saw a problem let alone experienced one.

      • Michael C

        I think the abundance of family gifts and probably year end cash make these travellers an appealing target for robbers, and makes the police escort a great benefit!

    • Herradura Plata

      It could be argued that there is an economic reason to “protect” these travellers. As of a week or so ago, remittances (dollars) sent into Mexico by Mexicans working in the US now account for more foreign exchange earnings (US $$) for Mexico than any other economic sector — more than manufacturing $$, more than oil $$, more than tourism $$ etc. So, in a sense, these folks returning to Mexico for Christmas are now, more than ever, an important economic asset, and should be cared for.

  • Don

    these convoys are to protect the nationals from the local police. we first came through Reynosa 18 years ago just before christmas. Police checks were pulling over all nationals but passing on tourists. since we had all just gone through customs and immigration, the only purpose for these roadblocks was for a “little bite”. Pretty hard to pull over a convoy

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