A caravan of more than 3,000 Central American migrants is advancing through Mexico, after leaders rejected the country’s offers for visas to stop the march to the US border.
As the migrants moved through Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, the government granted them humanitarian visas if they agreed to disband the caravan on Friday.
The leaders said Reuters that when they took the offer to a vote, it was rejected by members of the caravan, which includes families with young children from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and the Caribbean.
“We think it’s a trap,” Salvadoran immigrant Rosa Arellano told Reuters. “We think it’s an opportunity for the Mexican authorities to arrest us.”
Mexico is under increasing pressure from the United States to stem the flow of migrants making their way to the southern border. In fiscal year 2021, which ended at the end of August, more than 1.7 million immigrants were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents while trying to cross into the United States, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It was the largest number of migrant arrests recorded since 1986, the agency said.