Approximately 5,000 Migrants Begin Journey from Mexico’s Southern Border Due to Visa Delays

by Joshua Brown
Migrant Caravan

Around 5,000 migrants originating from Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, and Haiti commenced a northward journey on foot from Mexico’s southern border this past Monday. These individuals are aiming to reach the United States.

The migrants expressed frustration over the prolonged time required to process refugee or exit visas at Mexico’s principal migrant processing facility located in Tapachula, close to the Guatemalan frontier. Mexico’s beleaguered immigration system often necessitates that those seeking visas endure extended periods of waiting, which can span several weeks to months, without the opportunity for employment in the interim.

On Monday, the migrants assembled into a lengthy procession along the highway. Law enforcement officials sporadically escorted the group, mainly to prevent obstruction of the entire roadway and occasionally to discourage them from soliciting rides from passing vehicles.

The mobilization on Monday ranks among the most sizable since June of the previous year. Although the migrant caravans of 2018 and 2019 garnered much more extensive media coverage, the recent surge—totaling as many as 10,000 migrants arriving at the U.S. border in preceding weeks—renders Monday’s event comparatively minor.

Daniel González, a Venezuelan national among the migrants, stated, “We have been in transit for roughly three months, and we intend to continue.” According to González, assistance in Tapachula is scant. He further noted that returning to Venezuela is not a feasible option due to deteriorating economic conditions there.

González mentioned that a common strategy employed by Mexican authorities has been to wait for the marching migrants to fatigue, following which they are offered transportation either back to their countries of origin or to alternative, less congested processing facilities.

Irineo Mújica, an organizer of the march, said that migrants frequently endure destitute living conditions on the streets of Tapachula. Mújica is advocating for the issuance of transit visas that would permit migrants to traverse Mexico and reach the U.S. frontier. “Through actions like this, we aim to preserve lives,” said Mújica. “Authorities have sidestepped the issue, leaving migrants in a state of abandonment.”

Leonel Olveras, a 45-year-old migrant from Honduras, exemplifies the difficulties faced by those in the march. “Document issuance is virtually non-existent here in Tapachula. We are asked to wait for an interminable amount of time,” Olveras said.

Mújica later communicated that the group had managed to cover approximately 9 miles (14 kilometers) and had halted for the night in the town of Alvaro Obregon. He indicated that the group aims to advance further in the days to come but must consider the presence of women and children in their plans.

The U.S. southwestern border has been grappling with an influx of migrants, primarily from South America, who traverse the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama before making their way northward. According to statistics from Panama, about 420,000 migrants, often assisted by Colombian traffickers, had crossed the gap as of September this year.

For ongoing coverage of global migration issues, visit AP’s dedicated migration page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Migrant Caravan

What countries are the migrants in the caravan originating from?

The migrants in the caravan come from a variety of countries including Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, and Haiti.

Why have these migrants decided to set out on foot from Mexico’s southern border?

The migrants have embarked on this journey largely due to their frustration with the lengthy visa processing times at Mexico’s main migrant processing center in Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border. The delays often last for weeks or months, during which the migrants are unable to work.

How large is this migrant caravan compared to previous ones?

This particular caravan is among the largest since June 2022. However, it is smaller in comparison to the caravans seen in 2018 and 2019, which received much greater media attention.

What is the role of the police in this situation?

The police intermittently escort the migrants mainly to prevent them from blocking the entire highway. They are also present at times to discourage the migrants from hitching rides on passing vehicles.

What is the ultimate destination of the caravan?

The ultimate destination for most of these migrants is the United States. They are seeking better economic opportunities and are often fleeing deteriorating conditions in their home countries.

What are the conditions like for migrants in Tapachula?

According to Irineo Mújica, one of the organizers of the march, migrants often have to live in squalid conditions on the streets of Tapachula while they wait for their visas to be processed.

What is being done to address the migrants’ grievances?

Irineo Mújica is advocating for the issuance of transit visas that would allow migrants to cross Mexico and reach the U.S. border more easily. However, as of now, there is no official change in policy to address these concerns.

How far had the caravan traveled at the time of the report?

According to a message from Irineo Mújica, the group had covered approximately 9 miles (14 kilometers) and had stopped for the night in the town of Alvaro Obregon.

Are there women and children in the caravan?

Yes, the caravan includes women and children, and their presence is being considered in the group’s plans to cover more distance in the coming days.

What is the situation at the U.S. southwestern border?

The U.S. southwestern border has been experiencing an influx of migrants, primarily from South America, who are making their way north after crossing the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama. As of September this year, about 420,000 migrants had passed through the gap.

More about Migrant Caravan

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AnnieQ October 31, 2023 - 3:03 am

It’s a complicated issue for sure. But reading this, you can’t help but feel for these ppl. Months of waiting with no work, that’s just crazy.

SkepticalSam October 31, 2023 - 7:36 am

I get that it’s a problem, but the article doesn’t really offer solutions. What are the proposed fixes? Can’t just point out problems and not think about solutions.

Emily_W October 31, 2023 - 9:08 am

Heartbreaking to hear about the conditions in Tapachula. we really need to do better as an international community.

JohnDoe123 October 31, 2023 - 9:10 am

Wow, this is really eye-opening. Never realized how bad the visa process was in Mexico. kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?

TruthSeeker October 31, 2023 - 9:29 am

Facts are facts. But the authorities need to wake up! People are suffering here. Time for some action, not just talks.

CryptoInvestor October 31, 2023 - 10:05 am

This is a serious issue, but what about the economic implications for the US? Not saying we shouldn’t help, just curious about how it’ll affect the economy.

CarFanatic October 31, 2023 - 4:30 pm

off topic but does anyone know how these migrations impact the auto market? Higher demand for used vehicles maybe? Just wondering.

GlobalCitizen October 31, 2023 - 4:33 pm

These are human lives we’re talking about. Policies need to change, pronto. Enough of the bureaucratic red tape.

PoliticalWatcher October 31, 2023 - 4:55 pm

Not to sound cynical, but isn’t this an annual thing now? Same problems every year, different faces. When will the cycle end?


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