Invading Migrant Caravan Pushes Toward Mexico’s City
1000’s of exhausted migrants from the Central American caravan trudged along highways Monday toward Mexico City, where officials prepared a sports stadium to accommodate them as they try to reach the US border still 600 miles away.
The 1st wave of more than 500 migrants spent Sunday night on concrete benches at the Jesus Martinez stadium, where they were served hot meals as authorities prepared to receive as many as 5,000 migrants from the lead caravan and several smaller ones hundreds of miles behind it.
Nashieli Ramirez, ombudsman for the city’s human rights commission, said the migrants would be able to stay at the stadium as long as necessary. “We have the space in terms of humanitarian help,” Ramirez said.
In a thundering voice vote late Sunday at a gymnasium in Cordoba, in the Gulf state of Veracruz, hundreds of the estimated 4,000 migrants in the lead caravan voted to strike out for the capital, eager to leave a part of the country that has long been treacherous for migrants trying to get to the United States.
Cordoba is 178 miles (286 kilometers) from Mexico City by the shortest route, which would be the group’s longest 1-day journey yet since they began more than three weeks ago.
The group encountered obstacles Monday.
Truck after truck denied the migrants rides as they trudged miles along the highway, experiencing a taste of the colder weather of central Mexico. Migrants were seen grouping in front of tractor trailers, forcing the big rigs to stop so that fellow migrants could climb aboard.
This impromptu ride-sharing is precarious, with dozens scrambling onto vehicles at a time, and leaves some behind. And police will force the migrants off vehicles if the drivers complain.
Most of the exhausted migrants camped Sunday in Cordoba, a colonial city in the Veracruz sugar belt. But they were eager to divert toward Mexico City from Veracruz, a state where hundreds of migrants have disappeared in recent years, falling prey to kidnappers looking for ransom payments.
They hope to regroup in the Mexican capital, seeking medical care and rest while awaiting stragglers. The caravan has found strength in numbers as it meanders North, with townspeople coming out to offer food, water, fresh clothes and replacement footwear.
It is unclear what part of the US border the invading caravan will aim for, or how many may splinter off on their own.
Many of the migrants said they remain convinced that traveling together is their best hope for reaching the US. The migrants generally say they are fleeing rampant poverty, gang violence and political instability primarily in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Mexico faces the unprecedented situation of having three migrant caravans stretched over 300 miles (500 kilometers) of highway in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz.
The largest group has been followed by about 1,000 who crossed over from Guatemala last week and a 2nd group of about the same size that waded over the Suchiate River on Friday.
Mexico’s Interior Ministry estimated at the weekend that there are more than 5,000 migrants in total currently moving through southern Mexico via the caravans or in smaller groups. The ministry said 2,793 migrants have applied for refugee status in Mexico in recent weeks and around 500 have asked for assistance to return to their home countries.
President Donald Trump has ordered 15,000+ regular military troops to the Mexican border in response to the migrant caravans. President Trump plans to sign an order very soon that could lead to the large-scale detention of migrants crossing the southern border and bar anyone caught crossing illegally from claiming asylum.