Monday, June 17, 2024

Migrants caravan changes course, decides to head for US border in Sonora

The migrants caravan that left Tapachula, Chiapas, 17 days ago has changed course: its destination is no longer Mexico City, but the United States border, caravan leader Irineo Mújica said on Monday.

The director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) said he will try to organize another caravan of several thousand migrants who will join the existing one and meet in Veracruz before marching north together.

The convoy achieved a milestone on Sunday when it left Chiapas and crossed into Oaxaca. But the migrants did not get a warm welcome.

They stayed in the town of Los Corazones in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where tensions ran high as young men on motorcycles circled the main square. Some were armed, many migrants claimed.

On Monday the caravan arrived in Chahuites where they were initially blocked over fears the migrants would spread COVID-19, according to a report by Al Jazeera. Once they were permitted to enter the town they found many of its stores had closed and were unable to purchase supplies.

The caravan’s original plan — to appeal for visas in Mexico City — was one of compromise, offering an opportunity for negotiation by a government under pressure from the United States to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S. border.

Now, with the new plan to head directly to the border, in greater numbers, the political pressure has increased on the government.

The National Immigration Institute said its offer still stands to grant humanitarian visas to migrants who “face some degree of vulnerability,” which would include their families.

The administrative process would take place in offices in Campeche, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Querétaro and Morelos, the institute said. However, it did not confirm whether the visas would include freedom of movement and the right to work across the whole country, or would be restricted to certain states.

In recognition of the mistrust felt by the migrants, the institute assured that it would not try to take them back to Tapachula.

Mexico News Daily

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