A new caravan of about 500 migrants from Central and South American countries set off Monday, Aug. 22, from Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas with the aim of reaching the United States, local media reported.
The caravan departed from Miguel Hidalgo Central Park in the city of Tapachula on the border with Guatemala, where many migrants have been stranded for days waiting for the documents needed to legally travel through Mexico toward its northern border with the United States to be processed.
The caravan passed through an immigration checkpoint about 6 kilometers north of Tapachula without any mishaps or clashes with immigration authorities, local media reported.
The migrants plan to walk some 300 kilometers over the next few days to reach San Pedro Tapanatepec in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, where they said that they hope to obtain travel documents more quickly than in Tapachula.
Several migrant caravans set off from Tapachula in the past few months and throughout 2021, though most were disbanded by Mexican authorities, according to local media reports.
Some migrants have accepted job opportunities in areas with lower immigration flows than Chiapas, where migrants arrive nonstop, mostly from Central and South America.
The largest caravan so far this year left Tapachula on June 6 with more than 10,000 migrants, but was dissolved five days later, after reaching an agreement with Mexican immigration officials.
The uptick in migrant caravans has exposed the unprecedented immigration crisis affecting Central America and Mexico’s border cities in recent years.
Mexico deported more than 114,000 illegal immigrants in 2021, and detained 115,379 between Jan. 1 and April 13 of this year alone, according to the Immigration Policy Unit of the Mexican Interior Secretariat.
The number of migrants detained by the United States on the border with Mexico between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 reached 1,734,686, a record high.