One of the most important records for largest groups has set off from Mexico to meet a group that media outlets have estimated at 15,000.
A caravan of as many as 15,000 migrants, many from Venezuela and Cuba, has begun its march from southern Mexico to the US border, fleeing poverty and violence as President Joe Biden hosts leaders from across the continent at this week’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
The migrants set off on Monday from Tapachula, a city in the southeast corner of Mexico’s Chiapas state, a few miles from the Guatemalan border, according to media reports. They’ll have to travel more than 3,000 miles to reach the US.
It could become the biggest caravan in American history. This comes just as US President Joe Biden has been criticised for immigration policy. The US-Mexico border saw a record number of immigrants arrive in April. It averaged almost 8,000 per day. More than two million migrants were encountered by Border Patrol officers last year, and traffic could surge to 18,000 a day when so-called Title 42 Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Biden’s administration has estimated.
Caravan organizer Luis Garcia Villagran told Reuters that the start of the march was planned to coincide with this week’s Summit of the Americas. “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.”
This summit will discuss issues such as climate change and immigration. It began Monday. Biden is expected to be in the country on Wednesday. He may also announce an announcement this week about a new regional immigration pact.
It is ironic that the US did not invite Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua to attend the summit. The three countries with the highest numbers of caravan migrants are thought to be Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has decided to boycott the summit in protest at the US’s snubs.
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“I believe in the need to change the policy … of exclusion, of the desire to dominate for no reason and not respect the sovereignty of countries, the independence of each country, and it will not be a Summit of the Americas without the participation of all countries in the Americas,”Lopez Obrador said Monday to reporters.
Violent clashes erupt as Mexico’s National Guard confronts US-bound migrants (VIDEOS)