Migrant caravan on the move in southern Mexico – Associated Press

Several thousand migrants walked on through southern Mexico on Tuesday, covering ground while authorities showed no signs yet of trying to stop them.

The largest migrant caravan of the year provided a live illustration to regional leaders meeting in Los Angeles this week at the Summit of the Americas of the challenges governments face in managing immigration flows.

Mexico has dissolved smaller caravans this year through force, but more recently by offering them transportation to other cities farther north where they could legalize their status.

Luis García Villagrán, a migrant advocate traveling with the caravan, said negotiations for such a resolution were already taking place, but nothing had firmed up.

The caravan reached the town of Huixtla on Tuesday, about 25 miles from Tapachula, where they started Monday.

Eymar Hernández Benavides was a state police officer in Venezuela. In January, his extended family, divided between Tachira and Barquisimeto, began a group chat on a messaging platform. For three months they aired their grievances — product scarcity, high food prices, constant electrical blackouts — and planned their exit.

Hernández sold his car and other belongings to fund the two-week odyssey from Venezuela to Mexico, including through the harrowing jungle-clad Darien Gap that separates Colombia and Panama. That was hardest part for his wife, Jenny Villamizar. Not just the swollen rivers, rain, wildlife and thick vegetation, but watching their three children suffer.

More than 130,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap in 2021. Since January, more than 34,000, including 18,000 Venezuelans, have crossed there, according to Panama’s National Migration Service.

On Tuesday, Hernández walked up a rural highway in southern Mexico with 17 relatives, including his wife and their children, the 3-year-old in a stroller.

“It’s not Venezuela, it is the president, Venezuela works, it is a paradise, we didn’t want to leave our country,” Hernández said, referring to President Nicolás Maduro, who was not invited to the summit.

He said they want the U.S. to help resolve the crisis in Venezuela so they can return, but in the meantime they want asylum in the United States. They did inquire about asylum in Mexico in Tapachula, but were given an appointment for July. Through odd jobs they earned enough money to rent just one room, so they decided to join the caravan instead.

Their goal for Tuesday was to make it to Huixtla, Chiapas, a town still more than 1,000 miles from the closest point on the U.S. border. Mexican National Guard and immigration agents were visible along the route, but had not made an effort to stop the migrants. They did make those who had gotten rides on truck trailers get off and walk, apparently hoping to tire them out.

María José Gómez, 24, and Roselys Gutierrez, 25, a couple also from Venezuela, said they had left Colombia after experiencing homophobia there and suffering physical attacks.

They arrived in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula near the border with Guatemala a week ago and joined the caravan when it left Monday. Gómez was walking Tuesday with the rainbow flag and Gutierrez with that of Venezuela.

“We are very tired and want this torment to be over,” Gómez said. “We have walked a lot on the trip. We passed through the Darien jungle and have been in seven countries counting this one.”

Mexico has tried to contain migrants to the south, far from the U.S. border. But many have grown frustrated there by the slow bureaucratic process to regularize their status and the lack of job opportunities to provide for their families.

Mexico’s asylum agency has been overwhelmed with requests in recent years as policies leave migrants few other options than to request asylum so they can travel freely. Last year, Mexico received more than 130,000 asylum requests, more than triple the year before. This year, requests are already running 20% above last year.

The phenomenon of migrant caravans took off in 2018. Previously, smaller annual caravans moved through Mexico to highlight migrants’ plight, but without the stated goal of reaching the U.S. border.

But then several thousand migrants began walking together, betting on safety in numbers and a greater likelihood that government officials would not try to stop them. It worked at first, but more recently the Guatemalan and Mexican governments have been far more aggressive in moving to dissolve the caravans before they can build momentum.

While the caravans have garnered media attention, the migrants traveling in them represent a small fraction of the migratory flow that carries people to the U.S. border every day, usually with the help of smugglers.

The Biden administration had hoped to hammer out a regional agreement on managing migrant flows at the summit, but the presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are not attending, a notable absence of some of the leading migrant-sending and transit countries.

Keira Lara, a 30-year-old from El Salvador, trudged down the highway Tuesday with three of her four children. She had just arrived in Mexico a week earlier and only heard about the summit once she joined the caravan Monday. She said government officials had demanded money from her at every border they crossed.

Of the leaders meeting in Los Angeles this week she asked “that they let us pass, that there isn’t so much corruption in governments, because that’s why people migrate.”

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4 thoughts on “Migrant caravan on the move in southern Mexico – Associated Press”

  1. The plight of the poor and depressed from all the world makes for a story the AP can sell to America; the land of the free. However, all the world’s poor are kept so by careless and corrupt government. Mexico is not America’s friend. Corrupt for 100 years, Mexico has only a few wealthy families who control politics and keep a healthy middle class from forming. As a result drug cartels filled that space and competes to control the country with fear and bribes. Trump understood that and demanded Mexican leadership stop their movement. America must control how many enter legally and “who” are admitted on merit; not their need. Democrat socialists are attempting to overwhelm our social services and place fiscal harm on our economic system. America First!

  2. Joe Biden and his Radical Leftist Cash Grabber buddies:
    Hey everyone, flood over the border into the US and WE’LL GIVE YOU FREE TAXPAYER MONEY. Of course, when the free money, free medical care, free schooling and the like are handed over someone will whisper creepily in the recipient’s ear “vote Democrat!”.

    This is yet another example of how the Radical Leftist Cash Grabbers are taking YOUR MONEY and using it to buy votes and political influence.

  3. Woo, woooooo, here comes The Clue Train, next stop are all the people that previously said nonsense like “Trump’s influence is gone” and “Trump is no longer the leader of the Republican Party.

    FACT: after yesterday’s voting in California, Iowa, Mississippi and others, 116 out of 123 candidates endorsed by Trump have won their primaries/elections. That’s a 94.3% success rate. To follow on my previous clever analogy with Major League Baseball, that’s like the Arizona Diamondbacks going 153-9 over an entire baseball season. It’s like the Phoenix Coyotes going 77-5 over an entire NHL season. Like I said, with a record like that, you’d be in the record books until the sun laces up its dancing shoes and does the supernova shuffle.

    FACT: Democrats are stealing YOUR CASH and using it to buy votes. Only a complete idiot would argue against that statement.

    FACT: The Radical Leftist Cash Grabber Communist Chesa “The Criminals are the Good Guys” Boudin, District Attorney of San Francisco was recalled yesterday. We should all note that San Francisco is the most Radical Leftist Cash Grabber city in the USA and probably the entire world. Last I saw, it was an overwhelming 59-41% or thereabouts to bounce him out of office. The Radical Leftist Cash Grabbers, George Soros (and other people named George, probably) are now feeling the breath of impending doom on the backs of their necks. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom.

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