TAPACHULA, CHIAPAS (April 1st, 2022) — Some 500 migrants from Central America, Venezuela, and elsewhere pushed past police and National Guard lines in southern Mexico Friday in one of the first such marches this year.
The migrants described the march as a traditional annual protest related to Holy Week, and those at the front carried a white cross, as others have done in previous years.
However, this year the protest came two weeks early and some participants said they would go far beyond the usual short march and try to reach the U.S. border.
And in a clash with National Guard officers and immigration agents, the migrants used the cross they were carrying as a battering ram to break through the Guard lines, shattering the wooden cross.
The officers, who had riot shields, batons, and what appeared to be an irritant spray, detained some marchers, but many others ran past them.
The migrants set out from the southern Mexico city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, early Friday. Migrants have complained they have been essentially confined to Tapachula by the slow processing of their asylum cases and that they are unable to find work in the border state of Chiapas that would allow them to support their families.
“They are practically holding us prisoners; they do not allow us to leave this state because we are not regularized here,” said Venezuelan migrant Noreydi Chávez. “They require us to get a visa, but we never get any answers. We fill out paperwork, but they never process it.”
Reynaldo Bello, a migrant from Peru, joined the march with his wife and baby because the family had been living in a park and going hungry while waiting for their immigration paperwork to be processed.
The end of Title 42
The march came as the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden announced it would end a policy that allows turning back asylum seekers on grounds of protecting the country against the coronavirus pandemic.
Migrants have been expelled more than 1.7 million times from the U.S. under the policy, known as Title 42 for a public health law, which was invoked in March 2020.
Source: Imagen Informativa