Over 600 migrants that are part of a new migrant caravan travelling north from Honduras have made it to the Mexican border. Upon arriving, the migrants were given a bracelet by federal authorities which will allow them to start the process of obtaining a humanitarian visa which means they can remain and work in Mexico for up to a year.
Once the process of applying for a humanitarian visa is complete, the mainly Honduran migrants will have access to basic healthcare as well as the opportunity to search for work in Mexico.
Yesterday’s peaceful crossing came despite recent announcements of increased security along Mexico’s southern borders by government officials, with more migrants expected to come in the following days.
Mexican authorities in Guatemala explain to latest migrant caravan that they can all apply for humanitarian visas which allow them to stay and work in Mexico for up to a year. Radical change from the riot police and helicopters that EPN administration used against last caravan https://t.co/BECMdDS1NK
— James Fredrick (@jameslfredrick) January 17, 2019
Initial reports explain that similar to last year’s caravans, there are many women and children that have chosen to make the march towards the United States. Unlike last year, however, there have been no violent clashes at the Mexican border and authorities have guaranteed entry to the caravan as long as they enter in a peaceful and orderly manner.
“Today they receive doctors, and migration personnel provide them with information,” said the National Coordinator of Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), David León Romero, who spoke of the improved approach that the new Morena-led government is taking towards the migrants’ welfare. It is believed that a clinic has also been established to support women in particular, in an increased move to provide better humanitarian support.
At the same time, a number of migrants from last year still await the process of applying for asylum in Tijuana – with the Mexican government also agreeing to house those who remain in limbo regarding their access to the United States, reported the Associated Press. Although many consider this a humanitarian crisis and strive to help the migrants, other reports from Tijuana also spoke of a nationalistic rise against the migrants as protesters accused the migrants of being messy and called upon the Mexican government to carry out security checks in order to ensure there are no criminals among the group.
Among news that a Tijuana shelter is set to close next week despite the 400 people still using the facilities, the United States continues to affirm that anyone who is caught crossing the border illegally will be deported.
A new study reported by Animal Politico, however, explained that 52% of Mexicans recently surveyed support the migrant caravan and believe they should have access to work opportunities whilst travelling through the country. A total of 72% of the 500 people consulted for the survey believed a border wall that the United States president remains preoccupied with building is not necessary.
What also became increasingly clear last year, is that although the migrant caravan offers strength in numbers, the journey through Guatemala and Mexico is increasingly difficult. Last year reports arose of one migrant being hit by a rubber bullet whilst trying to cross into Mexico, leading to his eventual death. The mystery surrounding as many as 100 migrant men, women and children who disappeared whilst travelling through Mexico are believed linked to cartel members, who are thought to have kidnapped the migrants.
The total amount of people taking part in the current caravan is estimated to reach as many as 1,800, however, many of them still remain behind in Guatemala and expect to reach the Mexican border in the coming days.