The “largest human movement” in the nation is the caravan of migrants making their way across Mexico to the United States, according to a non-governmental organization (NGO). This caravan is a response to the migrant embargo imposed by Mexican authorities, which has confined arrivals to the northern border of the country. The migrants, mostly of African and Asian descent but also including individuals from various Latin American countries, began their journey from Tapachula, a city on the Guatemalan border, and plan to travel over 3,000 kilometers north to the United States border.
The caravan consists of individuals from 24 different countries, including Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil. It also includes individuals from Iran, Pakistan, India, Syria, China, Bangladesh, and several African nations. These migrants have chosen to make this treacherous journey after months of living in abject poverty in Tapachula. As more migrants joined the caravan, which started with approximately 10,000 individuals, its numbers swelled to over 14,000.
The National Migration Institute in Mexico does not provide aid to these vulnerable individuals, who have been left to fend for themselves in Tapachula for seven or eight months. This lack of support has pushed them to undertake this arduous journey. Luis Rey García Villagrán, the head of the Center for Human Dignity, who is accompanying the refugees on their journey, stated that this is the largest mass movement of people walking together that he has ever witnessed. The migrants have been walking for three days, traversing the highways in southeast Mexico.
The situation at the Mexican-Guatemalan border has drawn attention to the control criminal organizations, particularly drug cartels, have over foreign nationals. In September, the Mexican National Migration Institute temporarily banned entry permits into the country. As a result, migrants have been forced to rely on smugglers and human traffickers to flee the country, putting the lives of countless women and children at risk. Walking for ten to twelve hours daily, facing the intense heat of the Chiapas coast, has become the only perceived safe method of travel for these migrants.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has acknowledged the increase in migration in recent months. According to American border police, over 10,000 individuals attempt to enter the United States every day, surpassing previous weeks’ numbers. This ongoing migration crisis highlights the desperate situation of these individuals and the need for international cooperation to address the root causes and find lasting solutions.
The plight of these migrants has drawn attention to the failures of the Mexican government to protect its citizens and provide adequate support. NGOs and volunteers in Tapachula are working to address the humanitarian crisis and provide aid to these vulnerable individuals. The journey of the caravan serves as a potent symbol of the resilience and determination of those seeking a better life, despite the immense challenges they face along the way.
As the caravan continues its journey towards the United States, it remains to be seen how the situation will unfold. The sheer size of this movement reflects the urgency of addressing the underlying issues that compel individuals to embark on such perilous journeys. It is a stark reminder that migration is not merely a political or legal issue but a complex and deeply human one, driven by economic hardships, violence, and the aspiration for a safer and more prosperous future.