A migrant caravan making its way from Mexico’s southern border to the United States was reportedly broken up by Mexican border agents and police in riot gear on Sunday morning.
The Associated Press reported, “The group of about 800 – largely Central Americans, Haitians, Venezuelans and Cubans – had spent the night at a basketball court near Huixtla, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) up the road from the border city of Tapachula where they had been kept awaiting processing by Mexican immigration officials.”
According to Reuters, which reported that the caravan was made up of around 400 people, members of Mexico’s National Guard and National Institute of Migration surrounded the group at about 5 a.m. local time on the edge of Huixtla.
“In the ensuing commotion, some parents in the caravan…were separated from their children as the officials sought to intercept migrants who ran for the banks of the River Huixtla,” the outlet reported.
Hundreds of migrants reportedly escaped authorities and hid in vegetation near the river. Some alleged that law enforcement used excessive force as they raided the caravan. Several people were detained. It was at least the fourth such group forced to disperse by Mexican security forces in a week.
Recently, thousands of migrants have crossed Mexico’s southern border, many of whom say they are fleeing violence and poverty. President Andres Manuel López Obrador said he wanted them to remain in southern Mexico but acknowledged last week that the strategy was unsustainable.
“We can’t just be detaining; the causes must be addressed,” he said during a press conference. “It’s not advisable to just root the immigration plan in containment, it’s shaky.”
López Obrador has requested the Biden administration help the migrants find work. He has also suggested the U.S. government fund programs that he claims could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
More details from the AP:
Thousands of mostly Haitian migrants stuck in Tapachula have increasingly protested in recent weeks. Many have been waiting there for months, some up to a year, for asylum requests to be processed.
Mexico’s refugee agency has been overwhelmed. So far this year, more than 77,000 people have applied for protected status in Mexico, 55,000 of those in Tapachula, where shelters are full.
Unable to work legally and frustrated by the delay and poor conditions, hundreds have set out north.
According to Reuters, “Lopez Obrador has been in talks with U.S. officials ahead of a high-level economic dialogue scheduled for Sept. 9 in Washington,” where “immigration is expected to be on the agenda.”
The U.S. Supreme Court recently reinstated President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires some foreign nationals seeking to enter America through its southern border to wait in Mexico while U.S. officials process their asylum applications.
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