Mexican police break up US-bound migrant caravan

·2-min read
Mexican migration officers detain Central American and Haitian migrants heading in a caravan to the US (AFP/JACKY MUNIELLO)

Mexican police dispersed on Sunday a caravan of about 400 mainly Central American migrants who had been hoping to walk to the US border.

Ending the fourth such procession in a week, police intercepted the group as it prepared to leave the town of Huixtla in southern Chiapas state, AFP observed.

It was made up mainly of people from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti and Venezuela.

Police blocked streets that the travelers would need to use to get out of the town onto a northbound highway, making some arrests while others from the procession fled further into Huixtla.

The police also took up positions on the highway itself to keep the caravan from reforming.

About 80 people were arrested in the operation and would be deported, according to a police source.

A member of the National Guard was injured in the operation, authorities said.

"We are asking for asylum in Mexico, we do not want to go there (the United States)," Alexander, a man traveling with his wife and eight-year-old grandson, fleeing violence in El Salvador, told AFP.

Like other recent caravans, this one had set out from the Mexican town of Tapachula on the border with Guatemala.

It did so amid a heavy presence of Mexican national guards bent on stopping asylum-seekers hoping to reach the United States for a better life.

Activists and UN officials traveling with the migrants say police have used excessive force against them. Two migration agents were suspended for hitting a traveler.

The government has said it will nonetheless maintain its policy of trying to keep US-bound migrants from traveling through Mexico.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday he will send President Joe Biden a letter reiterating his proposal for the United States to grant work visas to Central Americans and Mexicans and address the poverty and violence that are helping fuel the migratory flow.

Mexico has seen an increasing number of undocumented migrants heading north since Biden arrived in the White House promising a more humane approach than that of Donald Trump.

In an attempt to curb the influx, the Mexican government says it has deployed more than 27,000 members of the security forces along its southern and northern borders.

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