Authorities in Mexico sent a bus to transport around 800 migrants from Tapachula to Huixtla and promised to expedite their documents in an attempt to prevent an Easter march, the Associated Press reported.
The migrants — who are mostly Venezuelans, Cubans, and Central Americans — are among thousands who have been waiting in Tapachula for documents to either stay in Mexico or continue on into the US. Migrants for years have held Holy Week marches, an effort to make it towards the US while combining protest and religious demonstrations.
“We are going to help them be regularized,” Hugo Cuellar, a representative of the National Institute of Migration told the AP.
Earlier this month, 500 migrants fought with Mexican authorities in the first march of the year, with some saying they would try to reach the US, the AP also reported.
Migrants at that march said they were frustrated that the long asylum protest kept them confined to Tapachula.
“They are practically holding us prisoners; they do not allow us to leave this state because we are not regularized here,” Venezuelan migrant Noreydi Chávez told the AP. “They require us to get a visa, but we never get any answers. We fill out paperwork, but they never process it.”
Migrants on Saturday told the AP that they wanted to keep going and for immigration to not hold them back.
The marches come as the US is expected to lift Title 42 — a pandemic-era order that allows US authorities to turn away asylum seekers due to COVID-19 concerns — on May 23.
Last month, immigration authorities carried out 109,549 expulsions under the order, AP reported. This comes as border patrol reported processing 221,303 migrants in March, the highest level since 2000, according to CBS News.
The ending of Title 42 has garnered pushback from Republican lawmakers including Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, who said he’s sending buses of migrants to Washington, DC as a result.