The governor of Coahuila has declared that no more migrants will be allowed into the state as thousands of Central Americans continue their journey through Mexico to the United States.
“We’re at maximum capacity,” Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís said yesterday, referring to migrant shelters in the northern border city of Piedras Negras.
“We will not allow more migrants to travel through Coahuila because the border is overwhelmed, but neither will we invite chaos and therefore they should go to other states,” he said
The governor said that providing accommodation, food and services to more than 1,600 migrants who arrived in Piedras Negras yesterday had stretched the capacity of authorities, explaining that as a consequence, “we’ll block the entry to Coahuila.”
The Central Americans, mainly from Honduras but also Guatemala and El Salvador, entered Mexico in the middle of last month as part of a larger caravan of around 2,200. Authorities in Piedras Negras converted several old factories into shelters to house them.
State news agency Notimex said that 51 other migrants had gone to Monterrey, Nuevo León, where authorities provided them with shelter in a gymnasium and humanitarian aid.
Manuel González Flores, general secretary for the state government, said that 35 of the migrants have family members in Nuevo León and intend to remain there, while the others are expected to continue their journey to the United States’ southern border.
At the other end of the country, around 3,800 migrants are currently traveling through Chiapas and yesterday reached Mapastepec, a municipality about 140 kilometers north of the Mexico-Guatemala border.
Hondurans also make up the bulk of that group but are joined by 500 Guatemalans, 300 Salvadorans and 50 Nicaraguans, caravan organizers told the news agency AFP.
The migrants plan to travel to Mexico City, where local authorities are preparing to receive them at the same sports stadium-cum-shelter that has housed previous groups.
From there, they will decide which section of the northern border they will travel to in the hope of claiming asylum in the United States, although U.S. President Donald Trump continues to maintain a hard line on immigration.
In his State of the Union address last night, Trump described the approach of migrants to the border as a “tremendous onslaught” of “large, organized caravans” and continued to press for funding for his long-promised wall.
“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well-being of all Americans,” he said.
“We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens . . . In the past, most of us, the people in this room, voted for a wall. But the proper wall never got built. I will get it built.”
In a Twitter post earlier in the day, Trump wrote: “Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our southern border. We have sent additional military. We will build a human wall if necessary. If we had a real wall, this would be a non-event!”
As has become his trademark in assessing the U.S. president’s comments about Mexico and border security, President López Obrador said Trump’s address last night was respectful.
“. . . There were some remarks [I didn’t agree with] but that’s his right, that’s his vision . . . He was very respectful of our government and we thank him,” he said.
Asked specifically about Trump’s claim that Mexico allows migrant caravans to freely travel through the country, López Obrador simply responded: “We very much respect the point of view of the president, Donald Trump.”