Thousands of migrants head for Mexico City to speed up legal route to US

Thousands of migrants, detained for months in southern Mexico, formed a new caravan in protest on Sunday to head for the capital to speed up their applications for US asylum.

The migrants, mostly Venezuelans, started their march north early in Tapachula, the city bordering Guatemala whose detention centers have been overwhelmed by their vast numbers. Some said they expected to reach Mexico City in about 10 days.

Fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, thousands of migrants walk together for safety to Mexico each year, crossing several states in hopes of finding a legal route into the United States.

“We’re protesting the 40 deaths in Ciudad Juarez, to demand the closure of the National Migration Institute, to demand (Mexico’s) President (Andres Manuel Lopez) Obrador pays attention to us because ours is a good cause, to demand the removal of the migration’s director because these (migrants centres) are the concentration camps and bunkers of this century,” said Dany, a migrant from Honduras.

“We don’t have any other alternative than leaving from here and keep moving forward. We won’t give up. (Reporter asking: where do you want to get?) Where all of us want – the United States. To fight for a better future for my daughter here and another one I left in Honduras,” said Patricia, a migrant from Honduras.

The new caravan has about 3,000 migrants, some from China and other Asian countries, Tapachula authorities estimated.

Irineo Mujica, director of the non-profit Pueblos Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), said the new caravan arose as a form of protest by migrants demanding the closure of detention centers.

Last month, about 40 people died in a fire in one such center in Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico.