CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico – In open opposition from the Mexican and US governments, thousands of unexcited immigrants, a part of a caravan that have been heading to the United States for more than a week resumed their journey on Sunday in southern Mexico.
The Mexican government, under pressure of President Trump to stop the caravan, had ordered migrants to hand over migration to immigration authorities at a legal border crossing.
But thousands chose instead to move on – Part of a group that had been stopped at the Mexican border this week after spending several days, mostly from their homes in Honduras.
They had gathered in the central square of the Mexican border city of Ciudad Hidalgo on Saturday and voted by a hands show to continue their journey north despite their well-known status. Some in the group said they had been tired of waiting time to cross the border through the legal entrance. others to fear expulsion.
“We must demand political asylum in Mexico, but we do not want it,” said Maria Irias Rodriguez, 17, an immigrant from Tegulcigalpa, Honduras, traveling with his 8 month old daughter, 2 year old son and husband . “We want to come to the United States.”
She said she had waited at the border until midnight on Saturday but became desperate about how long it took to be processed.
“If they stop us now, we’ll just come back again,” she warned.
Mexican officials hardly made any effort to stop the migrants when they went on a Sunday morning road.
Federal Police were sometimes on the road, monitoring the procession and a police helicopter circulated overhead. At one point, a leading migration officer drove on the back of a police car, urging migrants to register with the authorities and seek legal immigration status.
“You can not cross the entire country without documentation, “he said.
But people said they feared to be deported and the group continued to move north.
The organizers said the group’s goal was to reach the city of Tapachula, about a 20 mile journey by road from Ciudad Hidalgo before continuing north on foot and in vehicles.
The cart is part of a tradition of mass migrations, often organized by advocacy groups, to ensure the number of people to immigrants among the many threats to their safety along the dangerous trail.
The size of the Groups also serves to draw attention to the central Americans situation. Many say they are flying financial distress and violence in their homelands.
Such caravans have usually been numbered in hundreds and have gone unnoticed. But a big caravan in the spring drew the attention of Mr Trump, who said it threatened US security and sovereignty.
The current caravan, which is the largest on record, also has anger Mr Trump, who has taken care of it as a campaign question to postpone his base before the mid-term election.
While other caravans have usually proved themselves when they have developed northwards, this has grown, perhaps partly because of all the international media attention it received.
When the first participants had reached the western border of Guatemala around mid-week, the caravan, despite breaking in many smaller groups, had been ballooned from its original size of several hundred to several thousand, stretching back then far as Guatemala City, more than 100 miles away.
The Mexican authorities warned that only travelers with valid documents and visas or claiming asylum or other forms of protection would be all guilty of Mexico, and threatened expulsion for those who attempted to enter illegally. They said they should treat the migrants one by one.
But on Friday morning thousands of participants decided to try cross-border borders, defying the instructions of the Mexican authorities. The troop stretched across Guatemalan border guards and came to the toe with a contingent of the Mexican empire police who returned the group.
Many hundreds established a de facto camp on a bridge that stretched across the Suchiate River and waited for their opportunity to be treated by Mexican officials.
Those who have already been processed at the border post have been taken to a covered structure at a local fair that had been transformed by the government into a temporary immigrant home.
Officials said they had received 640 asylum applications from caravan members at the latest by Saturday.
Officials also said that some immigrants may come in terms of humanitarian visas or even for safe passage that allows them to travel to the northern border in Mexico and apply for protection in the United States.
In response to the caravan last spring, Mexican officials distributed hundreds of safe passenger permissions to the participants. But it was unclear on Sunday if any member of the current caravan had received such documents.
The participants in the revived caravan began moving on Tapachula on foot at about 5 on Sunday and the procession was orderly and peaceful. Some of the Mexican residents along the way cheered for the group or shared bananas, tortillas and water.
Several hours of the trip, Francisco Echevarria, a top federal migration officer in the state of Chiapas, appeared behind a police car, urging migrants to register for housing.
The migrants told them that they had heard that those who had registered were rejected. “It’s false,” replied Mr. Echevarria.
Migrants demanded evidence. “We do not want to be locked,” shouted someone.
Mr. Echeverria offered to take more to the homes to show that people were not deported and to begin their asylum processes. About 10 of the migrants took him on his offer and jumped into the back of the truck.
Early afternoon, the authorities had not tried to block the migrants. A contingent of federal police in cars and buses that had been waiting for them on the way approaching Tapachula made them pass.
Among the processions was Juan Carlos García García, 16, from Honduras, where he worked on coffee fields.
“It’s not a crime to migrate,” he said as he marched north. “We have not done anything against Mexican law.”
He added: “They said that they would not allow us to pass. But God has the last word.” G