An unprecedented caravan of nearly 15,000 migrants, the largest to date, left Chiapas on Monday, on the southern border of Mexico, heading for the United States, against the background of the Summit of the Americas, which begins today with migration as a priority.
Foreigners, mostly Venezuelans, Central Americans, and Africans seek as their first destination a new office of the National Migration Institute (INM) where they can regularize their situation in Mexico because in Tapachula they do not get humanitarian visas.
Under heavy rain, covered with umbrellas, cardboard, bags, raincoats, and towels, they undertook the trip at 06:30 am (11:30 GMT), regardless of the adversity of the weather.
In a first advance, they walked more than 8 kilometers, so they have already passed the first migratory checkpoint where some agents of the National Guard (GN) and the INM were, who limited themselves to observing the advance of the contingent.
The director of the Center for Human Dignity, Luis Rey García Villagrán, explained that in total there are more than 5,000 families, including about 93 pregnant women and 3,000 children.
“It is necessary that this migratory crisis be addressed in accordance with the law, humanitarian visas for one year, immediately, that are valid in national territory,” García Villagrán, an activist known for accompanying and defending migrant caravans, told Efe.
TRAPPED IN SOUTHERN MEXICO
John Romero, a migrant from Venezuela, indicated in an interview that they are seeking the humanitarian visa that Mexican authorities have promised in the past, but there was no response.
Instead, they were given an appointment for three months from now, which forced them, according to the migrant, to leave for northern Mexico, because the police are taking them prisoner and deporting them to Guatemala.
“We do not want to stay in Mexico, what we want is to leave, that is why we are going with everything walking,” he said.
A PRESSURE FOR THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
This caravan raises pressure on the Summit of the Americas, which takes place from June 6 to 10 in the United States and seeks a regional agreement on migration policy.
Shouting “Freedom, freedom, we are migrants, not criminals!”, the foreigners came out with suitcases, bottles of water and the hope of not being arrested and advancing in this new movement.
Adrián Castillo, another Venezuelan, said they have decided to march to raise awareness that all migrants need to leave Tapachula.
“That they give us the possible collaboration so that we continue since we all want to go to North America to change our lifestyle,” he said.
The migrant caravan planned to advance this day at least 18 kilometers.
At the moment, no federal authority has searched for the migrants to attend the caravan.
Previously, some 500 migrants had left in a group, but this caravan has advanced with thousands of people who have gathered in recent days.
The caravan reflects the record migratory flow to the United States, whose Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office detected more than 1.7 million undocumented immigrants on the border with Mexico in fiscal year 2021, which ended on September 30.
The Mexican government reported this weekend an increase of 89% year-on-year in the number of migrants presented or channeled by the immigration authority in the first quarter of 2022, adding 77,626 from January to March.
Mexico deported more than 114,000 foreigners in 2021, according to data from the Migration Policy Unit, figures not seen in almost 15 years, while in fiscal year 2022, which began on October 1, 2021, the CBP has counted more than a million migrants intercepted at the US southern border.