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The caravan before being stopped on April 16. Photo: Jacob Garcia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.
The caravan before being stopped on April 16. Photo: Jacob Garcia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Easter weekend migrant caravan stopped early by Mexican authorities

Buses brought those traveling to a town across the Mexican border and began processing them for visas.

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On Saturday, April 16, about 800 migrants, mainly Cubans, Central Americans and Venezuelans, set off on a march carrying crosses for Easter weekend.

The large group of migrants, who started their journey in Tapachula, Mexico, didn’t make it too far on Saturday.

Officials quickly sent buses to pick up the travelers and give them a lift to the Mexican town of Huixtla, which was about 25 miles up the road. Migrants were promised that their documents would be processed on Monday, April 18.

For many years, migrants have performed Holy Week marches that merge religious demonstrations, protests and efforts to resume a northbound journey that was halted by Mexican officials who seek to keep them in the southernmost area of Mexico, Tapachula.

As with the march over this past Easter weekend, most of the marches have been stopped by authorities soon after they began. 

The march over Easter weekend was the second caravan this month of Central American migrants heading north from Tapachula, with the intention of eventually reaching the U.S. 

The march that occurred on Saturday, April 2, resulted in a violent altercation between migrants and the National Guard. According to Casa de Dignificación Humana, 92 migrants were detained, and more than 20 individuals on both sides were injured. 

The rest of the group managed to reach Álvaro Obregón, about 11 miles from Tapachula. 

Frustration has been steadily growing among the migrants that continuously become stalled in Tapachula, resulting in more and more attempts to march north. Since the end of last year, immigration officials have started to move some migrants by bus to other states to process their documents. 

“What we want is to keep walking, to keep advancing. What we want is for Immigration to help us, not hold us back for so long,” Venezuelan migrant Desire Báez told AP News. Báez is traveling with her extended family including her children, parents, brothers and nephews. 

The group of migrants called their march “El Viacrucis Migratorio,” which means the Migrant Stations of the Cross. The nearly 800 Latin American migrants left early in the morning, before 7 a.m. 

Leonel Mejia, a Central American migrant, told AP News that trekking by foot is their only option, as they cannot afford any other mode of transportation. 

“All of us who are here [are] immigrating because of a situation we have in our countries, we only want to be transitory in Mexico,” said Venezuelan migrant Alexander Soto. 

The caravan only made it about 5 miles when the group was intercepted by officials from the National Migration Institute. After a conversation and an agreement to surrender, the group was told they would be granted visas starting on Monday, April 18. 

“They are going to attend to us on Monday with God’s favor. We want to do everything peacefully, but with solutions,” migrant Robinson Urbina told Noticieros Televisa

Luis Villagrán, spokesman for the migrant caravan, said that all the group wants is to gain the attention of the migrant population. 

“We are asking for a document valid throughout the national territory for one year,” he said. 

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