Mass migrants caravan heads North amid US-Mexico talks

A caravan comprising over 6,000 migrants of diverse nationalities is progressing from Mexico’s southern border.

This movement coincides with the imminent visit of a US delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to address the surge in migration with the Mexican government.

Migrants alleged mistreatment by Mexican immigration authorities, citing forced disembarkation from buses near the border and destruction of their migration documents, rendering their journey impassable.

Speaking anonymously to Reuters, a Venezuelan migrant expressed frustration: “They make us get off buses near the border without reason. They demand migration documents but then destroy them. How are we supposed to move forward? We have to resort to hopping on trains. This is the fault of migration authorities. We don’t blame the Mexican government, but Mexican immigration. They are responsible for our suffering.”

Another Venezuelan, Heily Peraza, shared with the news agency: “This is incredibly difficult; I’ve been doing this for three months. I fell last night trying to board a train to continue our journey. My children have had fevers and flu due to the cold. We’re out of water, uncertain of when we’ll depart. They toy with migrants’ emotions: saying one thing now, another later, leaving us stranded.”

Departing on Christmas Eve as the largest caravan this year, the group moved from Huixtla municipality on Tuesday, reaching the southern Chiapas customs, where they knelt to pray.

The undocumented migrants appeal to US officials and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to allow their passage.

As the caravan progresses, López Obrador anticipates an urgent Wednesday visit from a US delegation comprising Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, White House National Security Advisor.

“We’re meeting on Wednesday with a commission from the United States. We invited them to discuss the migration issue,” stated the Mexican president during Tuesday’s press conference.

December witnessed record-breaking figures of individuals seeking entry into the US via the Mexican border, with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirming over 2.2 million arrivals from January to November 2023.

Accompanying the caravan, Luis Rey García Villagrán, Director of the Center for Human Dignity (CDH), criticized the Mexico-US meeting for its anti-migrant stance.

“México gathers to ask for money from the US, which it will use to suppress the poorest, those whom Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed he would defend,” voiced the activist to EFE.

“They’ve criminalized women, children, and the defense of human rights in Mexico,” he added.

Despite López Obrador’s rhetoric, Venezuelan migrant Nery Jesús Menzana expressed skepticism about Mexico’s willingness to assist migrants, urging both governments to prioritize improving conditions in their respective countries to deter migration.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the caravan rested in Villa Comaltitlán, planning to proceed to Escuintla on Wednesday.

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