US-Bound Migrant Caravan Leaves Southern Mexico

Several thousand migrants have set out from southern Mexico in a caravan bound for the United States, which is hoping to address regional migration during talks at the Summit of the Americas this week in Los Angeles.

Migration activists said the group, which left from the Mexican city of Tapachula on Monday, could be one of the region’s largest migrant caravans in recent years.

The caravan was estimated to include 4,000 to 5,000 people, mostly from Central America, Venezuela and Cuba, The Associated Press reported, while witnesses told Reuters that the group counted approximately 6,000 people.

Mexico’s National Institute for Migration did not provide an estimate of the group’s size and provided no additional comment on the caravan.

Caravan organizer Luis Garcia Villagran said the group represented various nationalities of people fleeing hardship in their home countries, including many from Venezuela.

“These are countries collapsing from poverty and violence,” he said. “We strongly urge those who attend the summit … to look at what is happening, and what could happen even more often in Mexico, if something is not done soon.”

Tapachula serves as a key point in the journey of many migrants and asylum seekers hoping to reach the US, with thousands arriving in the city in Mexico’s southeastern Chiapas state in recent months.

For months, people have complained that Mexico’s strategy of containing them in the southernmost reaches of the country has made their lives miserable. Many carry significant debts for their migration and there are few opportunities for work in Mexico’s south.

For months, people have complained that Mexico’s strategy of containing them in the southernmost reaches of the country has made their lives miserable. Many carry significant debts for their migration and there are few opportunities for work in Mexico’s south.

“They gave us an appointment for August 10 in [the asylum commission], and we don’t have the money to wait,” said Joselyn Ponce of Nicaragua. “We had to walk around hiding from immigration, there were raids, because if they catch us they will lock us up.”

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