Authorities in Mexico have allowed a large number of women and children from a Central American migrant caravan to enter the country, but thousands remain stranded along the Mexico-Guatemala border bridge where riot police have barred their progress.
Mexico’s Ambassador to Guatemala Luis Manuel Lopez told AFP that the U.S.-bound migrants would be processed by immigration authorities and taken to a shelter in the city of Tapachula, 40 kilometers away from the border.
Border authorities in Mexico stressed that those on the bridge would have to file asylum claims one at a time in order to enter the country.
Mexican authorities said around 900 migrants, tired of waiting on the border bridge for too long, gave up on entering legally and resorted to crossing the Suchiate River by swimming or taking small makeshift rafts.
Many of them had spent more than 24 hours on the packed bridge, where heat and hunger were adding to a growing sense of despair.
The Mexican government said in a statement that it had received “requests for refuge” from 640 migrants, including 104 minors. It said it was “privileging at all times the human right of any foreigner to receive protection from the Mexican state.”
Guatemala police have organized a fleet of buses to take the migrants — mostly from Honduras — back to their country and more than 300 people have taken up the government offer of a bus ride home.
U.S. President Donald Trump has deployed 5200 members of the the military to the United States/ Mexico border to prevent the migrants from entering his country. This is while the United Nations (UN) has called on Washington to honor its human rights commitments.
The migrants are mainly were fleeing poverty and insecurity in Guatemala, which has a homicide rate of 43 per 100,000 citizens.