Thousands of Central America migrants making their way to the US-Mexico border are beginning to trickle into Mexico City. So far, the migrant caravan has received generous support from a sympathetic Mexican public and government, but increasing numbers may be straining Mexican hospitality.
“Mexico’s government said on Saturday that around 5,000 migrants were still winding their way through the country in at least three caravans; 2,793 have applied for asylum.
“We left fear behind in Honduras,” said Lester Alvarado, 28, as he trudged along the highway in Veracruz on Monday. He fled Honduras with his wife Belkis Sánchez, 22 – leaving their three children with his parents – after gangsters shot up their restaurant in Tegucigalpa when they failed to pay protection money.
The Veracruz governor, Miguel Ángel Yunes, initially offered 160 buses to take the migrants straight through the state to Mexico City on Friday, telling the newspaper El Universal: “There are already migrants in Veracruz, begging for money in the streets. It’s a serious social problem and we don’t want it to increase.”
But he later reneged on the promise, claiming Mexico City was unprepared to receive so many migrants due to water service cuts – something denied by city officials. His decision left the migrants stranded in the city of Sayula on Saturday as they woke at 3am and queued for buses that never arrived.
“This cancellation is having the result of fragmenting the caravan, whose unity was its main form of protection,” the UN high commissioner for refugees tweeted on Saturday.
The fiasco prompted many of the migrants to push forward to the capital, leaving behind slower-moving family groups with children.“