The so-called caravan of migrants from Central America traversing Mexico, which has been credited for President Donald Trump’s decision to reinforce border security with the National Guard, is being rerouted to Mexico City. The leaders of the U.S.-based People without Borders told local media that they will decide whether the migrants will continue as a group toward the U.S./Mexico border or if the marchers will attempt to infiltrate as individuals. The group will stop in Puebla, the third largest city in Mexico, where lawyers are expected to offer advice about seeking asylum in the U.S.
President Trump tweeted on Thursday that the caravan is breaking up due to Mexico’s willingness to use its “strong immigration laws.” He also wrote that border crossings are at an historic low that remains “unacceptable.”
The Caravan is largely broken up thanks to the strong immigration laws of Mexico and their willingness to use them so as not to cause a giant scene at our Border. Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low. Stop drugs!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 5, 2018
Currently taking a break on their northward journey, which began near the border with the Central American republic of Guatemala, approximately 1,700 migrants are now in Matias Romero, a town in Oaxaca State in southern Mexico. According to Mexican media reports, various migrants said that while they do not fear President Trump’s recent statements about border security measures, they admit that crossing the border is risky.
According to El Sol newspaper of Mexico, there are 32 pregnant women in the caravan, which in Mexico and Central America has been called “Via Crucis” or Stations of the Cross in reference to journey of Jesus to his crucifixion. Coverage of the caravan occupied a great of media attention over Holy Week.
In the town of Matias Romero and along their route, migrants have received help from local Mexican citizens and the government. Also, officials of Mexico’s immigration agency have been on hand to renew the migrants’ Mexican visas and thus temporarily prevent their arrest while in the country. Local reports suggest that members of the caravan are disappointed that the planned journey will stop in Mexico City rather than the border. They had counted on the added safety afforded by the large size of the group.
According to report in El Sol, nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras form the caravan of migrants headed toward the U.S. One migrant said that she left a “hopeless” situation in order to help family members who remain behind. She said that she can’t be stopped. Lourdes Lizardi Lopez, who coordinates Angels without Borders -- a pro-immigration group -- told the newspaper that the caravan will reach Mexico City within 15 days. “This caravan is the biggest ever that is head toward Tijuana. Everyone is frightened by what is happening and Trump, who is not granting political asylum, and are uncertain about what is going to happen on the border.”
López said that the violence and poverty in their home countries that is motivating the migrants to head to the U.S. Along the way through Mexico, they have also faced hunger, uncertainty, and threats from organized criminal gangs. In the town of Matias Romero, Lopez said that accommodations are being found for the migrants, who had found shelter under tents or the open sky for five days.