Mexico’s National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) reported that 70 of the 74 migrants arrested early Thursday morning while traveling by bus in Sonora, have been released by authorities.
Part of the Central American Exodus, or migrant caravan, the 74 were suddenly arrested in the early morning hours of Thursday. The group left Hermosillo, Sonora accompanied by CNDH staff and were headed toward Tijuana on buses sponsored by the Sonora and Tijuana governments when they were detained by the National Police and the National Migration Insitute (INM). Activists say they were arrested with the intent to deport the young members of the Exodus.
A CNDH spokesperson explained that four minors still remain in INM custody.
"Special emphasis was placed on girls, boys, adolescents, women, and families (of the detain Exodus members) giving them dignified treatment, food, and medical care, in addition to being provided with sufficient information about their rights, including requesting refugee status," said the CNDH in a written statement.
At the same time, activist Maggie Nuñez who has been traveling with the first caravan since it traveled through Guatemala after leaving Honduras Oct. 12, says that the very CNDH is collaborating with INM staff by helping to take migrants off the buses to deport them, rather than trying to protect the asylum seekers.
According to Núñez, the health status of the travelers is bad owing to the fact that since leaving Mexico City they have been sleeping in the open, in extreme heat and cold, and without enough food. Last week Guadalajara city officials sent the Exodus packing and left them stranded in northern Jalisco forcing the Central Americans to walk and hitchhike some 90km to the Sinaloa border where transportation was waiting for them.
Edgar Corzo Sosa from the human rights commissioned denied his organization was handing over migrants to security forces, stressing that the agency negotiated the release of the 70 Exodus members.
On Sunday some 700 Exodus member will be transferred from one stadium to the 'March 18 Sports Complex' in order to protect them from the recent Mexico City cold snap.
Most of the 8-10,000 members of the four caravans that left Central America over the past month to escape poverty, state-sponsored violence, and hunger have at least reached Mexico’s capital or are trekking through the western Mexican states of Jalisco, Queretaro, and Sonoro.
While most from the several caravans may have intended to seek asylum and work in the U.S., many are rethinking that option as government authorities there have been that process exceedingly difficult by restricting asylum applications and placing over 7,000 military troops along the frontier with Mexico.
"Crossing the wall (between Mexico and the United States) is not the only option, the one that comes with intentions to work does it anywhere, it can be Mexico, it can be another country but never come back to Honduras," 28-year-old Erick Cortes construction worker told Reuters after fleeing gang threats in his country.
"I want to work so that my family can leave the hell where it is," he added.
The Mexican priest Alejandro Solalinde, director of the Peaceful Human Mobility of the Mexican Archbishop is encouraging migrants to stay in Mexico or wait to see if migrants can be airlifted to Canada to settle in the county.
Solalinde, who has been helping the Exodus since it entered Mexico is meeting with the Archbishop of Canada, Leonardo Marin-Saavedra on Tuesday to discuss the airlift option to the northern neighbor.