New immigration procedures implemented by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) effectively disbanded a group of 2,000 mostly Central American caravan migrants.
Immigration policies put in place following an agreement between Mexico and the Trump Administration broke up a caravan consisting of approximately 2,000 people from Central America, Africa, and the Caribbean Islands, the Associated Press reported Saturday. The group began to move northward from Tapachula, Chiapas, early one morning last week after being held up for official travel documents. The group quickly encountered Mexican Federal Police and members of the newly formed National Guard.
When the group came upon the police and soldiers, some scattered while others surrendered.
“This caravan no longer exists,” migrant rights advocate Irineo Mujica told the AP.
The migrants are provided opportunities to request asylum in Mexico. Instead, the group chose to illegally attempt to move through Mexico to the U.S. border.
“I want to pass through Mexico, I don’t want to live here,” Amado Ramirez expressed. Reportedly traveling with his wife and young children, he said he hoped to obtain documents allowing him to pass through Mexico.
Hundreds of African migrants also attempted to make their way through Mexico but the government stalled their request for visas. “Almost all of them want to seek asylum in the United States, rather than stay in Mexico,” the AP reported.
Stressful conditions turned violent as some of the migrants “engaged in scuffles” with police at the regional immigration office.
Under the agreement between Mexico and the United States, Mexican immigration officials give the migrants two choices — stay in Mexico or leave via Mexico’s southern border. Many are flown back to their countries of origin. African migrants have a more difficult path as their home countries often lack the infrastructure to handle mass repatriations, the AP stated.
Migrant support groups reported that the presence of the National Guard and other law enforcement officials in southern Mexico made the process for moving north very difficult.
Large group migration through Mexico to the U.S. southern border hit a 12-year high during Fiscal Year 2019. However, changes in Mexican policies negotiated by the Trump Administration effectively dropped the numbers from a high mark of nearly 133,000 in May to about 40,000 in September, Breitbart Texas reported. By the end of the fiscal year, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended an estimated 850,000.
Migrant families and unaccompanied minors made up for nearly two-thirds of the apprehensions in the U.S.