Migrant caravan in south Mexico demands corridor to border

Jun 23, 2022, 9:57 PM | Updated: Jun 24, 2022, 1:08 pm

TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) — An estimated 2,000 migrants walked out of this southern Mexico city Friday, saying they are not interested in visas and permits the government has issued in efforts to dissolve other caravans and calling instead for buses to the U.S. border.

The latest group comes just two weeks after an even larger one left Tapachula, coinciding with a summit of hemispheric leaders hosted by the United States. Some 7,000 of those migrants were issued temporary documents and transit visas allowing them to board buses and continue north through Mexico.

The documents usually give migrants a month or more to regularize their status in Mexico or leave the country.

The Mexican government has been using the issuance of such documents since last October to periodically lower pressure from swelling migrant numbers in the south. But instead of traveling to other states to normalize their status in areas less congested than Tapachula, migrants have used the documents to travel to the U.S. border.

But migrants walking Friday said that authorities in other parts of Mexico have not respected those documents and many migrants were returned to the south.

“The march doesn’t want a 30-day permit. The march doesn’t want a humanitarian visa,” said Venezuelan Jonathan Ávila, one of the group’s self-appointed leaders. “We want organizations and the government … to set up a humanitarian corridor.”

He said they want buses to carry them to the U.S. border. “The visa doesn’t work,” he said. “With the visa they return us, they tear it up.”

Authorities in some northern border states blocked many of the migrants who were issued documents after joining the larger caravan this month. Others traveling in smaller groups managed to cross the border into the U.S.

Last week, Héctor Martínez Castuera, a high-ranking official in Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, said in a news conference in the border city of Piedras Negras that the intention of the temporary documents was for the migrants to legalize their status in Mexico — not travel to the U.S. He said the migrants had been told as much, but many decided to head to the U.S. nonetheless.

At an initial highway checkpoint on the outskirts of Tapachula Friday, authorities watched the migrants pass without intervening.

Frustrated migrants have long complained about Mexico’s strategy of containing them in southern Mexico, where there are fewer job opportunities. The Mexican government has essentially left only the path of applying for asylum for the migrants, which many do not qualify for and which has overwhelmed the system’s capacity, creating delays.

“(The wait) is too big of an expense,” said Colombian Janet Rodas, traveling with her Venezuelan partner and a baby. She said migrants spend days crisscrossing Tapachula between the detention center, asylum agency and other offices. The runaround makes it difficult to work or make it to meals for those staying in shelters.

Many migrants carry debts for their trip and feel pressure to get to the United States, where they can find work and begin paying them off.

Carlos Guzmán of Honduras joined the caravan with his wife and five children. They had been given an initial appointment with the asylum office for September.

“It’s too much time they gave us for the appointment,” he said. “That’s why we decided to walk.”

This week, nongovernmental organizations that visited Mexico’s border with Guatemala, said they observed abuses by authorities.

Melissa Vertiz of the Working Group on Immigration Policy, said that Mexico’s National Guard must stop working as immigration authorities and that migrants should be allowed to pursue normalizing their status in other parts of Mexico, not be confined to the south.

Mexican Sen. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, who accompanied the organizations, warned that the situation in the south was a time bomb that could generate violence.

“There’s no awareness of the humanitarian crisis the southern border is experiencing. There’s no sense of the dimensions of what happens here,” he said.

The caravans have formed in recent years as migrants who sought safety in numbers or who could not pay smugglers banded together. But they represent a fraction of the usual migration flow through Mexico that happens largely out of sight.

The days of walking in tropical heat and rain quickly take a toll on participants in the caravans. Sometimes authorities move to detain exhausted participants, but more recently the government has sought to avoid potential conflict and instead issue temporary documents to dissolve the caravans.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Shoppers looking for bargains enter an OshKosh children clothing store, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in M...
Anne D'Innocenzio and Cora Lewis, Associated Press

Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive

Consumers holding out for big deals -- and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything -- may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
12 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.  ...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
12 hours ago
FILE - Sandra Cruz Torres, mother of Robb Elementary massacre victim Eliahna Torres, chats with Bet...
Associated Press

Uvalde mom sues police, gunmaker in school massacre

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last conversation Sandra Torres had with her 10-year-old daughter was about her nervous excitement over whether she’d make the all-star softball team. Hours later, Eliahna Torres was one of 19 children and two teachers massacred at their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. With little closure and few answers about law enforcement’s […]
1 day ago
FILE - Actor Danny Masterson appears at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on June 7, 2017. ...
Associated Press

2 sick jurors lost from deliberations at Masterson trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two deliberating jurors at the rape trial of former “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson were dismissed Monday because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo replaced the jurors with two alternates and told the panel to start over with deliberations. The jurors were […]
1 day ago
This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to reporters on Capitol Hil...
Associated Press

Georgia runoff: Early voting for Warnock-Walker round 2

ATLANTA (AP) — In-person early voting for the last U.S. Senate seat is underway statewide in Georgia’s runoff, with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock working to get the jump on Republican challenger Hershel Walker who is putting less emphasis on advance balloting. After winning a state lawsuit to allow Saturday voting after Thanksgiving, Warnock spent the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Groups ask EU to drop carbon removal from climate plans

BERLIN (AP) — Scores of environmental groups issued a joint appeal Monday for the European Union to drop carbon removal methods from its climate plans, arguing that some of them rely on untested technology while others may not absorb as many greenhouse gas emissions as claimed. The EU’s executive Commission has proposed creating a system […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Migrant caravan in south Mexico demands corridor to border