Migrants pour into Mexico’s northern border despite visit by US delegation

Migrants continue to fill the streets of Ciudad Juárez, on Mexico’s northern border, despite the decrease in migration promised by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador after his meeting with a US delegation on Wednesday.

For the past two weeks, groups of dozens of migrants have been walking at all hours with children on their shoulders or hand in hand as they make their way to Gate 36 of the border fence between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, Texas, which has been the focal point of migration between Mexico and the US for most of the year.

“It’s complicated because they don’t let us through, and you suffer a lot on the way here,” Dariel Sánchez, a Venezuelan man who spent more than five days stranded with nearly a thousand migrants in Ceballos, a town on the border between the northern states of Durango and Chihuahua, told EFE.

“Caravans are coming from Tapachula, Chiapas, from Mexico City. In other words, there are a lot of migrants,” he added.

Interviewed near the Río Bravo/Rio Grande border, Dariel said that agents of Mexico’s National Migration Institute stopped them on their way through Mexico and took them off the train in the middle of the desert, in temperatures close to zero degrees, without taking into account that they were traveling with children.

“We had to sleep in the street, on the ice. I don’t know why they don’t let us pass, if we’re not doing any harm or anything, we just want to pass to ask for a permit or asylum,” he lamented.

A drop in migration?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken led an urgent visit to Mexico by White House officials on Wednesday amid an unprecedented increase in irregular migration in December, with an average of more than 10,000 people a day arriving at the border, according to López Obrador.

The Mexican president defended the results of the meeting, asserting that migration “is already decreasing” after the unprecedented surge that prompted the United States to temporarily close border crossings in Texas, Arizona and California.

“The most important thing (in the meeting) was that progress was made and we understood each other and there are already good results. Of course, it also has to do with the end of the year, so we should not celebrate prematurely, but migration is decreasing,” the president said in his morning conference on Friday.

In contrast, Maria Eugenia Campos, the governor of Chihuahua, where Ciudad Juárez is located, told the media on Thursday that 3,000 more migrants are expected to arrive in the state this week.

Dilia Padilla has been in transit for four months since leaving her native Colombia. This week, she arrived in Ciudad Juárez on a train and immediately headed to the Río Bravo to try to cross through Gate 36.

“It has been difficult, I have been on this odyssey for four months, thank God we are here, it has not been easy, now we have to wait to see how to cross, not to the (American) dream, but to what God has promised to many people and to me,” she said in front of the border river.

The woman said the journey was long and difficult, although they received a lot of help from all the countries they crossed.

“On foot, by train, many times we were abandoned, many times we did not advance, we arrived with the help of many people. I thank the president of Jiménez (municipality of Chihuahua), we were a large group abandoned in Ceballos and they helped us,” she said

By Muhammad Hussain