Mexican immigration authorities on Tuesday withdrew a pair of migrant camps in the southern city of Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas, in what appears to be an attempt to organize a migratory flow that has overwhelmed all government capabilities.
The largest camp – located outside the migration station almost on the border with Guatemala and where up to a thousand people were gathered – was mainly composed of Haitians and Africans. Around 500 of these people were transferred to facilities of the National Institute of Migration at the fair of this municipality, according to data from that Institute.
The other, located in the central park, was made up of more than a hundred Central Americans, mostly asylum seekers in Mexico, and who, evicted from the place at midnight on Tuesday, were wandering around the city without knowing where to shelter. Most of them were afraid of being arrested despite being in the process of regularization because both the arrests and the return of migrants to their countries of origin have multiplied in recent months.
Also on Tuesday afternoon, immigration agents raided at least two hotels where Cuban migrants tend to stay. Only a handful of them were arrested, but this group says they feel strongly harassed and persecuted by the Mexican authorities.
The Esplanade in front of the Siglo XXI migratory station, the largest detention center for migrants in the country where extra-continental citizens are also being held, was on Wednesday all order after days of chaos in which migrants from Haiti, Cameroon, Mauritania, among other countries, were piled up and there were feuds of fights to be taken care of.
The transfer of Tuesday from this place is the second of these characteristics in that area and according to witnesses took place voluntarily.
Carlos Alcántara, who sells fruit in front of the migratory station, said that on Tuesday at the last minute several buses arrived, began to talk with the migrants and took the majority. “They were told they were going to be transferred for hygiene,” he said.
Emaly Elisiane, a Haitian who travels with seven relatives, explained that the majority left because they were told that in the other place they would process the documents that allow them to cross Mexico. “My son was not here in the afternoon and that’s why we did not leave, because we could not separate,” he said.
Haitians and Africans hope that Mexico will give them an exit document, a document that forces them to leave the country within 20 days but with which they can reach the border with the United States, the fate of the vast majority from them.
The eviction of the central park, which was also carried out without violence, was heavily guarded by federal and military police and generated fear and uncertainty because the migrants were with their sleepy children on their backs without knowing what to do.
“We have nowhere to go,” said Germán Efraín Rodríguez, a 33-year-old Honduran who was with his wife and three children in the central park. Rodriguez held his documents in his hand, including a visa to be legally in Mexico and his record of having sought refuge. “They look at us badly, we demand a little respect,” he added.
Certain sectors of the society of the localities of the south of Mexico have shown their satiety before the migrants whom they accuse of the evils of the city. The hostels throughout the area are overwhelmed.
On the other hand, in Comitán, 250 kilometers further north but also in Chiapas, the state prosecutor’s office reported Tuesday in a statement that the authorities rescued 281 migrants, including minors, from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Cuba. They were transported by nine alleged traffickers in four trucks and five trucks. The alleged traffickers were arrested and the vehicles insured.
Thousands of migrants are stranded in southern Mexico while hundreds more migrate daily to the country irregularly.
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