On Monday, about 3,700 Central American migrants left the border state of Chiapas for the United States. According to reports from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the caravan is made up of people from countries including Venezuela, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Ecuador, Cuba, Panama, and also from Asia.
Members of this new caravan reported that this mobilization is taking place after two weeks of unsuccessful waiting for a response from authorities of the National Migration Institute (NMI) for the issuance of temporary permits to travel through the territory and thus alleviate some of the institutional violence that afflicts migrants during transit.
For their part, activists are denouncing the sale of migration cards at prices of almost $2,000, and sting operations involving not only the NMI, police, National Guard, and Mexican Armed Forces, but also federal agents from the United States, and Central and South America.This operation has so far detained at least 900 migrants per day in transit to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, has recorded at least 20,000 “disruption actions,” such as arrests, resulting from these operations.
The NHRC launched a petition to Mexican government agencies to provide “protection” to this new caravan, such as the NMI, the National Guard, and others. For its part, the NMI maintains that the necessary permits must be processed in the border city of Tapachula, Chiapas.
Despite the fact that migration has been part of the agenda in international discussions, such as the meeting between President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and Joe Biden on July 12, the exodus continues because poverty, job insecurity, and violence have worsened, particularly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The end of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, announced by the U.S. President after 53 migrants were discovered dead in a truck in Texas, has changed little for the violent situation that thousands of migrants face every day. Although they longer have to wait outside the United States for their asylum hearings to be processed, the flow of migrants continues to be treated as a security issue on both sides of the border. The conditions in which thousands of people travel through the country continue to expose their lives to violence, extreme weather, and violations of their rights by authorities and institutions.
Only the independent mobilization of the working class and popular sectors can forge the bonds of unity and class solidarity to fight for full rights and freedom of movement for migrants.
First published in Spanish on July 26 in La Izquierda Diario Mexico.
Translation by K.S. Mehta