In Mexico, thousands join massive migrant caravan before Blinken visit
Thousands of migrants have departed on foot from the southern border of Mexico to reach the border with the United States.
It is estimated that thousands of minors, comprising approximately 7,000 individuals primarily from South and Central America, have joined the migrant caravan.
They departed mere days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to meet with the president of Mexico to discuss strategies to mitigate mass migration.
Recent closures of multiple border passages have been attributed to an influx of migrants.
According to John Kirby, the national security spokesperson for the White House, both US President Joe Biden and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president of Mexico, are troubled by the “dramatic” increase in the number of migrants traversing their shared border. Over two million individuals were apprehended at the southern frontier of the United States during both fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
According to data from US Homeland Security, the US Border Patrol apprehended over 200,000 migrants illegally traversing the US-Mexico border in September 2023 alone.
On Christmas Eve, the most recent migrant caravan departed from Tapachula, a city in southern Mexico situated in close proximity to the nation’s southern border with Guatemala. The banner carried by its leaders read, “Exodus from destitution.”
The majority of the migrants, according to local media, originated in Honduras, Cuba, and Haiti; however, some also travelled from Bangladesh and India. Numerous individuals stated that they had chosen to join the caravan after months of anticipation for transit permits.
Migrant rights activist Luis Garca Villagrán, who is accompanied the caravan, stated that many of the migrants who had become stranded in Tapachula had no choice but to join the mass trek north.
“The issue is that the southern frontier [with Guatemala] is unguarded and daily traffic volume ranges from 800 to 1,000 individuals. If we do not evacuate Tapachula immediately, the city will collapse. “We inform the Mexican government that it has abandoned us with no choice but to walk as far as possible along the coastline,” he explained.
Approximately 15 kilometres were traversed by the migrants on their initial morning following their dawn departure on December 24th. One Honduran immigrant stated that he fled his native country in order to escape a criminal organisation that had issued him death threats.
José Santos told Reuters, “Because I was terrified, I chose to travel to Mexico in the hopes of obtaining permission to enter the United States.” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico stated on Friday that he was open to resuming collaboration with the United States to address migration concerns.
On Wednesday, the Mexican leader is scheduled to meet with the United States secretary of state. Their encounter occurs as the surge in immigration becomes a contentious political issue in the United States, with President Biden under increasing pressure to halt the influx across the southern border of the country.