Migrant Caravan Moves Through Mexico

Delegation including Blinken is due in Mexico this week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 24, 2023 5:30 PM CST
6K Migrants Trek Toward US Border
Migrants leave Tapachula, Mexico, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Edgar Hernandez Clemente)

A sprawling caravan of migrants from Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries trekked through Mexico on Sunday, heading toward the US border. The procession came just days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Mexico City to hammer out new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the US. The caravan, estimated at around 6,000 people, including families with young children, is the largest in more than a year, an indication that joint efforts by the Biden administration and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's government to deter migration are falling short, the AP reports. The Christmas Eve caravan departed from the city of Tapachula, near the country's southern border with Guatemala.

Security forces looked on in what appeared to be a repeat of past tactics when authorities waited for the marchers to tire out and then offered them a form of temporary legal status used by many to continue their journey north. "We've been waiting here for three or four months without an answer," said Cristian Rivera, traveling alone, having left his wife and child in his native Honduras. "Hopefully with this march there will be a change and we can get the permission we need to head north." López Obrador in May agreed to take in migrants from countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba who were turned away by the US for not following rules that provided new legal pathways to asylum and other forms of migration.

But that deal appears to be insufficient as the number of migrants again surges, per the AP, disrupting bilateral trade and stoking anti-migrant sentiment in the US. On Friday, López Obrador said he was willing to work again with the US to address migration concerns. But he also urged the Biden administration to ease sanctions on leftist governments in Cuba and Venezuela—where about 20% of 617,865 migrants encountered nationwide in October and November hail from—and send more aid to developing countries in Latin America and beyond. "That is what we are going to discuss, it is not just contention," López Obrador said Friday following a phone conversation the day before with President Biden to pave the way for the high-level US delegation, which is due to meet with him on Wednesday.

(More immigration stories.)

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