Last migrant caravan breaks down in Mexico after 2 days

HUIXTLA, Mexico — Several thousand migrants who left southern Mexico with the goal of reaching the United States broke off their march on Sunday after Mexican officials handed out about 3,000 temporary residence permits.

The permits allow the migrants, mostly Venezuelans and Central Americans, to stay on Mexican territory for up to 30 days while undergoing immigration procedures, officials at Mexico’s National Institute of Migration said.

“We will continue to the United States by bus because we already have the permit. We no longer have to walk,” said a Venezuelan, William Molina, after getting his permit. He travels with 10 family members.

The group, which began walking Friday from the border town of Tapachula, was the ninth migrant caravan formed in southern Mexico so far this year.

Migration is back in the spotlight after the discovery last week of an abandoned truck in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 60 migrants inside. Fifty-three of them died.

The tragedy coincided with a US Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Biden administration to end a measure imposed by President Donald Trump that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while US officials processed their asylum applications.

While the migrant caravans have attracted the attention of the media, those who participate represent a small percentage of the migratory flow that arrives daily at Mexico’s border with Guatemala, mostly with the help of smugglers.

Another Venezuelan in the group, Francisco Daniel Marcano, said he hoped the permit would help him reach northern Mexico and reach US territory. But, he said, if he fails to enter the US, he will try to find a job in northern Mexico to earn money to send to his parents and three children back in Venezuela.

At least three large groups totaling about 13,000 people have attempted to leave the Guatemalan border on foot in the past 30 days, according to the Mexican Immigration Service.

Many migrants object to the Mexican strategy of keeping them south, away from the US border. They say the process to normalize their status – usually by applying for asylum – is taking too long and that they can’t fend for themselves while they wait weeks in Tapachula because there are few jobs.

But the latest caravans, usually made up of entire families, have managed to get only about 45 kilometers (28 miles) to Huixtla, where Mexican officials have managed to disperse the groups by issuing temporary residence permits.

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