Mexico dissolves migrant caravan; grants 3,000 permits

Some 7,000 migrants, most of them Venezuelans, obtained these types of documents just a few weeks ago when the largest caravan of the year left the border area with Guatemala coinciding with the summit of leaders of the Americas that was being held in Los Angeles.

Authorities in some states bordering Texas blocked some of those migrants but others continued to walk in small groups and many managed to cross the Rio Grande.

The caravans represent only a tiny fraction of the thousands of migrants who cross illegally into the United States every day thanks to smugglers.

Since last October, Mexican immigration authorities have been using the strategy of offering temporary transit permits to decongest the south of the country, where the offices that process refugee applications are totally overwhelmed.

According to official data, the record number of more than 130,000 migrants asked for refuge in Mexico in 2021 and applications increased by 20 percent.

Human rights groups have criticized the lack of transparency in the granting of documents.

The last migrant caravan to leave southern Mexico two days ago was completely dissolved Sunday with the delivery of more than 3,000 temporary permits in just two days for foreigners to transit the country, a strategy that is already repeated almost constantly.

“With these actions, the advance of the contingent was suspended,” the National Migration Institute said in a statement.

Although the migrants, most of them Venezuelans, had asked for a humanitarian corridor to reach the border with the United States, after advancing less than 50 kilometers they accepted the documents that give them a period of 30 days either to regularize their situation or to transit through the country, a period that most take advantage of to take buses and travel north.

“They said they better give us papers and that we leave on our own,” said Jonathan Avila, a self-proclaimed spokesman for the group.

“But in Tapachula there are still many migrants, we are thinking of organizing another caravan with all the people behind,” he warned.

The migrants asked the authorities to respect the papers they have handed over since some said that other foreigners have had their documents broken at different points of the journey or returned to the southern border.

“Everyone’s goal is to get out of Mexico, it’s not to stay in Mexico,” said Venezuelan Neyber Medina.

“What do the authorities gain from having us here? That they let us pass, that they do not hinder our passage, we need a free transit.”

Some of the foreigners indicated that their goal was to reach Monterrey and from there to the border.