Mexican security forces intercepted a group of hundreds of illegal immigrants in the southern part of the country over the weekend, breaking up a convoy headed north toward the Mexican-U.S. border.
Many children were part of the mass of people headed north from Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. The group began with around 300 persons from Haiti, Cuba, and Central American nations walking north from Tapachula near the border. Hundreds more joined in the march over the next several hours.
After about eight hours of walking, the entire group passed through a Mexican immigration checkpoint but was blocked by Mexican National Guard troops shortly after. Some of the walkers were arrested, and others evaded the troops and continued moving northward.
Around 200 reached the town of Huixtla by Saturday night, according to a priest who ministers to migrants crossing through the country.
One AP journalist reported seeing an immigration agent kick an illegal immigrant in the convoy who had been immobilized. According to the Collective of Monitoring and Documentation of Human Rights of the Southeast, a group of Mexican agencies that works with migrants, some of the walkers were injured, and others were loaded onto buses that took them away.
The numbers of Central Americans and Haitians have increased along the southern Mexican border throughout the year. Haitian migrants, in particular, have increased demonstrations and protests near Tapachula as they have been immobilized near the border for some time. They said they grew frustrated with Mexican immigration officials and began marching without government permission to enter the country.
The group that walked out of Tapachula was the largest of 2021 and brought up memories of the multiple caravans that began crossing Mexico before the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Throughout the last week, Mexican immigration officials have insisted that interdicting illegal migrants would continue. On Friday, Mexico’s Defense Secretary, Luis Sandoval, said that the country’s military forces and National Guard were being deployed to “stop all migration.”
When Donald Trump was president, the US Supreme Court ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy.