(NewsNation Now) — A caravan of more than 3,000 migrants are walking from Southern Mexico to the U.S. border.
Many of the migrants are Haitians. The rise in the number of Haitians making their way through Mexico has been spurred by economic malaise, a devastating earthquake and political turmoil following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July.
Mass arrivals of Haitian nationals sparked a crisis for the Biden administration in September.
Alex Leyva of Honduras said he was attempting to travel north in a caravan for the second time. The first time he left with another group Oct. 23, but he got sick and had to drop out. Mexican immigration agents sent him back to Tapachula, where he had already started the process of requesting asylum in Mexico.
“My country is in the worst economic, crime, hunger situation,” Leyva said. “There are no studies, no education for the kids. That’s why my wife and I decided to try to achieve our objective” of getting a better life.
The earlier caravan that Leyva first traveled with is now in southern Veracruz state, but it has dwindled to several hundred migrants, down from a high point of some 4,000.
Luis García Villagran, of the Center for Human Dignity, said the migrants are demanding documents that allow them to be in all of Mexico. The Mexican government had relied on a strategy of containing migrants in the southernmost part of the country to alleviate pressure at the U.S. border.
The caravans began several years ago as a way for migrants who did not have the money to pay smugglers to take advantage of safety in numbers as they moved toward the U.S. border. However, more recently Guatemala and Mexico have become more aggressive in quickly breaking up the caravans with security forces.
The dwindling caravan in Veracruz was the first to advance so far into Mexico in the past two years, but the grueling conditions of the trek and the government’s offers to regularize migrants’ status has led the majority to drop out.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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