Mexico Conducts Largest Raid On Migrant Caravan Members, Regrets It
Mexican authorities detained over 360 people this week in the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the groups began passing through Mexico last year. The migrant group was making their way through the southern state of Chiapas with hopes of reaching the U.S. border. Police targeted isolated groups at the end of a caravan that had close to 3,000 migrants. While the number of migrants detained is alarming, similar arrests have occurred over the last month as support for the caravans in Mexico has waned recently.
Many migrants ran to the safest place they could find, the local Roman Catholic church.
The caravan was broken up as people fled to avoid being detained. There have been multiple reports of mothers and children running from police and hiding in nearby forests to avoid authorities. Images on social media have shown authorities wrestling migrants into police vehicles as families tried to stay together during the raid.
“There are people still lost up in the woods. The woods are very dangerous,” Arturo Hernández, a sinewy 59-year-old farmer from Comayagua, Honduras, who fled through the woods with his grandson told Fox News. “They waited until we were resting and fell upon us, grabbing children and women.”
Those migrants who were detained were sent to an immigration station in the nearby city of Tapachula. As this time it’s was not clear whether they would be deported back to their country of origin.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has spoken up about the raid and the increasing number of migrant caravans.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke about the raid on Tuesday morning, acknowledging that the caravans can’t simply go wherever they please. He noted concerns about human traffickers that may have allegedly infiltrated various caravans.
“We don’t want for them to just have free passage, not just out of legal concerns but for questions of safety.” López Obrador said at a press conference.
Tonatiuh Guillén, Obrador’s immigration chief, said that the raid was “regrettable,” especially for scaring migrant children. Guillén says he doesn’t want to see the incident happen again but warns it’s a normal “migration enforcement action.”
Mexico has deported 11,800 migrants so far this month. The country is also being more selective when it comes to those who receive a humanitarian visa, which would allow a migrant to remain in the country and work.
This has all happened as another “giant” caravan, that may have 10,000 migrants in it, heads towards the U.S.-border.
According to the Washington Examiner, a new caravan of approximately 10,000 migrants is traveling through Mexico with plans of reaching the U.S-border by this week. The group is being called the “mother of all caravans” by Mexico’s Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero. Mexico officials are preparing for the large group by ensuring they have food, shelter, and other needs.
While President Trump has called has ramped up pressure on Mexico to do more to stem the flow of Central American migration, Mexico has already deported thousands of migrants this year. It has also done its part to help those in Mexico as the country has issued more than 15,000 humanitarian visas.
Making matters worse for migrants is the lack of support from locals in southern cities near the U.S-border. Many have faced violent conditions on their journeys and subsequently while they wait for asylum claims to be processed. This has led to an increase in migrant camps near border cities that have continually grown over the last year.