Caravan migrants accept Mexico visa deal to disperse
Thousands of migrants in southern Mexico have accepted a government offer to disperse from their U.S.-bound caravan in exchange for Mexican visas, an organizer of the caravan said on Tuesday. The caravan is one of two large groups of migrants, many from Central America and the Caribbean, that left the southern city of Tapachula in recent weeks to embark on foot on the long journey north toward the U.S. border with families including young children.
The caravan is one of two large groups of migrants, many from Central America and the Caribbean, that left the southern city of Tapachula in recent weeks to embark on foot on the long journey north toward the U.S. border with families including young children. By Tuesday, the second group had progressed as far as the town of Mapastepec in the southern state of Chiapas, under the guidance of caravan organizer Luis Garcia Villagran from advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
Garcia told Reuters that most of the migrants in the second caravan had accepted the Mexican offer and officials would eventually bus them out of Chiapas, distributing them across 10 states. In exchange for the deal, the organizers agreed not to assemble more caravans in future, a Mexican migration official said later, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Caravan organizer Garcia denied that such a deal had been made. Migrants have repeatedly expressed skepticism about receiving documentation regularizing them in Mexico, and organizers say another caravan is already about to depart from Tapachula, a major migrant massing point close to the border with Guatemala.
The government's National Institute of Migration (INM) did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Earlier, Garcia said the decision to offer transportation and visas to migrants was positive, after Tapachula had turned into a "prison" for migrants left stranded while waiting for paperwork that would let them freely transit the country.
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