Migrant Caravan Spends Christmas on the Road, Marching on to US Border

Web Staff
By Web Staff
December 25, 2023Americas

Thousands of migrants continued on Christmas Day walking through southern Mexico, heading toward the border with the United States.

On Sunday, the group of mostly Central American and Caribbean migrants had walked more than 9 miles from the southern border city Tapachula to get to Alvaro Obregon, with plans to set off again around 4 a.m. the next day.

The migrants included single adults but also entire families, all eager to reach the U.S. border, angry and frustrated at having to wait weeks or months in the nearby city of Tapachula for documents that might allow them to continue their journey to illegally enter the United States.

Mexico says it doesn’t give out transit visas, but migrants keep hoping to get some sort of document so they can at least take buses to the U.S. border.

Mexico says it detected 680,000 migrants moving through the country in the first 11 months of 2023.

At around 6,000 people, the migrant caravan that set out Sunday was the largest one since June 2022, when a similarly sized group departed Tapachula.

And, like the 2022 caravan—which started as U.S. President Joe Biden hosted leaders in Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas—this year’s Christmas caravan came a few days before U.S. officials are to meet with their Mexican counterparts in Mexico City to explore ways of stemming the number of migrants showing up at the U.S. southwest border.

Migrants walk along a highway in Huixtla, Mexico, on Dec. 25, 2023. (Edgar H. Clemente/AP Photo)

The Mexican government has already said it is willing to help try to block migrants from crossing Mexico; the government had little choice after U.S. officials briefly closed two vital Texas railway border crossings, saying they were overwhelmed by processing illegal immigrants.

That put a chokehold on freight moving from Mexico to the United States, as well as grain needed to feed Mexican livestock moving south. The rail crossings have since been reopened, but the message was clear.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to arrive in Mexico City Wednesday to hammer out new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the United States. The U.S. delegation will also include Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall.

This month, as many as 10,000 illegal immigrants were arrested per day at the U.S. southwest border.

In May, Mexico agreed to take in migrants from countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba who had been turned away by the United States for not following rules that provided new legal pathways to asylum and other forms of migration.

But that deal, aimed at curbing a post-pandemic jump in migration, appears to be insufficient as numbers rise once again.

Arrests for illegal crossing topped 2 million in each of the U.S. government’s last two fiscal years.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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