López Obrador: "In Mexico we are going to offer employment to Central American migrants"

The future leader of Mexico sends a message of solidarity towards Central American migrants.

El electo presidente de México, López Obrador, pronuncia un discurso © Wikimedia Commons / Facebook / Reforma Migratoria
The elected president of Mexico, López Obrador, delivers a speech Photo © Wikimedia Commons / Facebook / Migration Reform

This article is from 5 years ago

Mexico (Reuters).- The elected president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sent a message on Sunday afternoon to the caravan migrants which aims to reach the United States.

"I offered work visas (...) because there will be work for Mexicans and Central Americans in our homeland," he said during an event in Chiapas in which he expressed solidarity with what he called "Central American migrant brothers."

"I am also suggesting to President Donald Trump that an agreement can be carried out so that Canada, the United States and Mexico invest in the development of the southeast and Central American countries," added the future Aztec leader.

Last Thursday Trump threatened to stop aid to Honduras and Guatemala, in addition to close the US border with Mexico with the help of the military.

"Every effort is being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing across our southern border. People must apply for asylum in Mexico first and if they don't, the United States will reject them," he tweeted.

The Mexican government said it will register migrants and process asylum requests. Those who skip the process will face deportation, but the size of the caravan will test Mexico, which has sought help from the United Nations to confront the problem.

On Sunday the caravan of thousands of migrants Hondurans were in the border city of Tapachula and their members set up makeshift camps in public spaces under heavy rain.

The migrants, exhausted after an hour-long walk from the Guatemala border, ignored most police offers to board buses headed to a shelter because of suspicions they might be deported.

The expedition left last week from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and grew as it advanced through Guatemalan territory towards the north.

"I just want to find some food and a place to sleep."

In southern Mexico, police in riot gear on Sunday watched the arrival of the caravan that left early from Ciudad Hidalgo across a highway, but did not prevent its procession.

Among the crowd walking toward downtown Tapachula was Roger Pineda, a 16-year-old Honduran. "I just want to find some food and a place to sleep," he said, explaining that he joined the caravan last week with five members. from his family and a group of friends from the violent city of San Pedro Sula.

"I hope Trump allows us to get to the other side," he added.

In Guatemala, local media reported that around 1,000 migrants were traveling north en route to the border with Mexico.

A long line of people marched under a scorching sun as a military helicopter circled overhead. Many migrants said they were fleeing a combination of violence, poverty and corruption in Central America.

Several said they felt safer moving forward in a large group than individually or in smaller, and therefore more vulnerable, groups.

"We're going to pass, we're going to continue if they don't stop us," said Honduran Jaffe Borjas, 17, as he walked with a childhood friend at the front of the giant line that stretched down the highway toward the horizon.

The crowd of migrants earlier at times blocked the highway heading north from Ciudad Hidalgo, and many of them began to sing.

"Here we are and we are not leaving and, if they kick us out, we will return!" shouted in unison a large crowd marching under the intense glare of the morning sun. "We are not criminals, we are workers!"

More than 3,400 Honduran migrants have returned

More than 3,400 Honduran immigrants have returned to their country of origin in the last 48 hours until Sunday afternoon, according to a migrant assistance organization led by the wife of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, Ana García de Hernández.

"We make the call not to emigrate irregularly, facing your children in conditions of extreme danger," García de Hernández said in a statement. The Honduran government has also blamed the political opposition in its country for encouraging the mass departure of migrants.

The members of the caravan who are in Mexico, and which many observers at the border have described as "unprecedented" numbers or "an exodus", are in the thousands despite the numbers provided by the Mexican Government.

Mexican immigration authorities said Sunday night that they had allowed about 1,028 migrants to cross the official border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo, near the bridge that crosses the Suchiate River, in the past three days.

The slow pace led thousands to illegally cross the river by raft or swim to shore.

(Reporting by Delphine Schrank, with additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and Gustavo Palencia in Honduras and Sofía Menchú in Guatemala. Editing by Sharay Angulo and Carlos Aliaga)

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