MAPASTEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) – Tempers frayed among hundreds of mostly Central American migrants gathered on Wednesday in southern Mexico, delayed as Mexican officials sought to slow down the U.S.-bound flow that President Donald Trump is determined to turn back.
Since last week Trump has repeatedly threatened to close down the U.S.-Mexico border if Mexican officials do not do more to thwart the migrants, potentially harming tens of billions of dollars in trade, but has also praised Mexican efforts following his outbursts.
Government - Changing - Policy - Response - Threats
The Mexican government has vehemently denied changing policy in response to threats, but has appeared to slam the brakes on its practice of awarding so-called humanitarian visas that allow migrants from other countries to pass freely within its borders.
Without such papers, they are vulnerable to harassment and deportation from officials.
Men - Women - Children - Group - Caravan
As many as 1,500 men, women and children traveling in a large group or caravan from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba were gathered in the town of Mapastepec in Chiapas state, unable to obtain the temporary visas.
Mexico’s immigration institute said it would prioritize giving the visas to vulnerable groups including the elderly and unaccompanied minors, while offering transport home for others.
Officials - Documents - Migrants - Frustrations - Result
Officials were issuing very few of the documents, migrants said, and frustrations were mounting as a result.
“It’s been hard for me to get here because there aren’t any visas,” said Cuban migrant Yuremi Garcia, who had traveled without papers from the southern Mexican border a few hours south to a crowded sports ground in Mapastepec, converted into a temporary shelter.
Garcia - Northwards - Others - Risk - Mexican
Garcia said he was tired of waiting and had decided to continue northwards together with others, despite the risk that Mexican authorities would deport them.
At the border town of Tapachula, near the southern tip of Mexico bordering...
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