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News > Latin America

Migrants Caravan Protests Trump Attacks as Mexico Grants Visas

  • Honduran migrants hold their national flag as they take a pause from traveling in their caravan, during their journey to the U.S./Mexico border.

    Honduran migrants hold their national flag as they take a pause from traveling in their caravan, during their journey to the U.S./Mexico border. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 April 2018

"Migrants are not criminals, but rather vulnerable human beings," Mexico's Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement.

Nearly 100 Central American migrants with the "Viacrucis Migrante 2018" (Migrant's Way of the Cross) caravan assembled in front of the U.S. embassy in downtown Mexico City Saturday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's recent remarks on the caravan.

Central American 'Migrants in Struggle' Caravan Heads to Mexico, US for Dignity, Asylum

Caravan organizer Irineo Mujica at Mexico City's Angel of Independence monument told the AFP Saturday that the migrants still with the caravan were to visit the Basilica of Mexico's patron saint and seek meetings with U.N. representatives and the Organization of American States (OAS). "We are looking for some reaction, some change in the policies," Mujica told the AFP. 

The migrants started their journey from the city of Tapachula in the state of Chiapas on the Mexico-Guatemala border, to the United States and other Mexican states on Palm Sunday, demanding the right to asylum and an end to the political corruption in their cities.

Last week, the Mexican authorities visited the migrants who were stationed at the Mexican border town, Puebla, to process transit visas and special humanitarian visas which would allow them to either cross Mexico and request asylum at the U.S. border. or apply for residency in Mexico. 

Trump has made several anti-immigrant remarks since the caravan embarked on its journey. The caravan, "Migrantes en la Lucha" (Migrants in the struggle), primarily includes people from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. 

"The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our "Weak Laws" Border, had better be stopped before it gets there," Trump tweeted Tuesday. Trump also chided the Mexican authorities for doing "very little.' 

After Trump's Threats, Mexico Blocks Refugee Caravan Fleeing Violence

"Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S., They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!" the US president tweeted on April 1. 

To curb migrants' influx to the U.S., Trump called on Congress to fund his signature border wall, which he claims would stop an influx of illegal immigrants.

"Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!" Trump tweeted Monday. 

The “Stations of the Cross” caravan is a journey undertaken annually. The number of people traveling this year is greater than that of last year. Organizers blamed a disputed presidential election in Honduras and continued high levels of gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala for the number of people leaving those countries.

Last week, the U.S. president announced that National Guard soldiers would be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border. 

In a historic first, Mexico's Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued a statement Saturday responding to Trump's plans to send National Guard troops to the border by calling on him and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to work toward policies that protect the dignity of migrants.

The statement also urged Mexicans to choose leaders who have no ties to corruption. "Migrants are not criminals, but rather vulnerable human beings who have an authentic right to personal and community development," it said. 

The undocumented immigrants, according to an EFE report are being advised on asylum and refugee processes. The travelers are due to arrive in Mexico City Sunday.

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