Thousands of illegal immigrants in a caravan broke through a barricade of Mexican police dressed in anti-riot gear on Oct. 23, driven to action by what they say are impossible conditions in the overcrowded southern Mexican border city of Tapachula.
Around 400 Mexican interior police attempted to form a blockade to stop a flood of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants as they attempted to leave the city, which lies on Mexico’s border with Guatemala.
The protesters easily broke through police lines and made their way north along a highway that leads to the nation’s capital.
The city, which is in Mexico’s poorest state of Chiapas, is swollen with tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, and other countries, mostly in Central America.
Illegal immigrants have been pouring into Mexico since U.S. President Joe Biden took office following promises of a more “humane” approach to immigration.
Mexico allows those applying for humanitarian visas or asylum to stay in Chiapas while their case is processed, but those wishing to travel further north into Mexico and beyond must have a visa, or risk being deported to Guatemala.
But many in this caravan are willing to take that risk, said organizer Irineo Mujica. Mujica is an immigration reform activist with the organization Pueblos Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders).
He told Fox News that people in the caravan are calling on the Mexican government to “do their share” with the immigration crisis, adding that many would be content with Mexican papers and “the opportunity to work here.”
“A lot of them don’t want to go to the U.S.,” he said. “But the Biden administration, this administration, it’s like hauling them like cattle. We’re asking the Mexican government to give them papers to have a choice here, because Mexico, it’s a good place to live, to work.”
He said that most in the caravan were, for now, headed for the Mexican capital, although others may continue on to try their luck at the southern U.S. border.
By Melanie Sun