The first of the migrants who began entering Mexico from Guatemala in October arrived last night in Mexico City after walking and hitching rides from Córdoba, Veracruz.
An estimated 940 spent the night in a sports stadium in Iztacalco that has been especially prepared for them by city officials. As many as 5,000 are expected by Wednesday.
There has been a steady flow of arrivals since early this morning and another 2,000 left at six o’clock after spending the night in the Córdoba arena.
The migrants are those from the first caravan, which crossed into Mexico October 19 and is made up mostly of Hondurans.
They are being welcomed to the capital by the current city administration and the new one, which takes office next month, as well as the city’s Human Rights Commission, whose chief told a press conference that about 1,500 people will take shelter in the stadium today.
Nashieli Ramírez said the entire caravan will stay in the stadium and is expected to remain for at least a week. She said the city has an obligation to offer humanitarian aid and solidarity to the Central American citizens, who are fleeing violence and poverty and hoping to establish new lives in the United States.
The city is providing food and water and legal and medical aid, Ramírez said.
Teams of doctors, psychologists and paramedics are delivering medical attention while clowns are on hand for emotional support.
The city has also set up 17 centers in the city zócalo and in public areas in the boroughs where migrants can obtain provisions such as clothing and blankets.
A Catholic priest who operates a migrants’ shelter in Oaxaca predicts that 80% of those who have entered Mexico will continue on to the northern border and seek to enter the United States. Alejandro Solalinde believes that 20% will remain permanently in Mexico and look for employment.