TAPACHULA, MEXICO: Thousands of migrants in southern Mexico have accepted a government offer to leave a caravan bound for the United States in exchange for Mexican visas, officials said Tuesday evening.
The caravan is one of two large groups of migrants, many of them from Central America and the Caribbean, who have left the southern town of Tapachula in recent weeks to begin the long journey north towards the US border on foot. with families with young children.
The migrants in the caravan who left Tapachula last week accepted a government proposal to “start the process that will allow them to regularize their legal status,” according to a joint statement from the Interior Ministry and the National Institute of migrations.
On Tuesday, this group had progressed to the city of Mapastepec in the southern state of Chiapas, under the leadership of the organizer of the caravan Luis Garcia Villagran of the defense group Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
Garcia told Reuters that most of the migrants in the caravan had accepted the offer and that authorities would eventually take them out of Chiapas by bus, dividing them across 10 states. The government’s statement, however, listed nine states.
In return for the deal, the organizers agreed not to assemble any more caravans in the future, a Mexican migration official later said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Caravan organizer Garcia denied that such a deal had been made, and the statement made no mention of it.
Migrants have repeatedly expressed skepticism about receiving documents regularizing them in Mexico, and organizers say another caravan is already about to leave Tapachula, a major migrants’ gathering point near the border. with Guatemala.
Earlier, Garcia said the decision to offer transport and visas to migrants was a positive one, after Tapachula turned into a “prison” for stranded migrants awaiting documents allowing them to cross the country freely.
Mexico’s migration official said a group of migrants from Haiti and Honduras were taken to Guanajuato state on Tuesday about 1,000 km (620 miles).