Mexican police arrested between 300-500 Central American migrants outside the southern city of Pijijiapan, Chiapas, according to DW.
Mexican police an immigration officials rounded up the undocumented migrants who had crossed illegally into Mexico in the hopes of obtaining asylum by the United States. The raid is one of the largest targeting a caravan since the exodus began last year, and follows pressure by US authorities on Mexico to curb the flow of migrants.
Mexico has stepped up migrant detentions since US President Donald Trump threatened last month to shut the US-Mexico border if the caravans weren’t stopped. Several organizations have condemned the rise in arrests, warning that detention facilities were overcrowded and the rights of migrants were being violated. –DW
Those arrested were part of a caravan of around 3,000 Central Americans heading north. Witnesses described authorities wrestling men, women and children into vehicles – where they were then driven to buses. DW reports that they were likely headed to migration centers for deportation, according to activists.
Meanwhile, local media reported on Friday that over 250 migrants were arrested in the nearby city of Mapastepec.
Kevin Escobar from Honduras, who fled onto private property to avoid immigration agents, told the Associated Press he would never return to his hometown because “the gangs are kidnapping everyone back there.”
Officials from the National Human Rights Commission observed the police operation in Pijijiapan and said they were “documenting what is happening.”
“We cannot tell authorities in charge what to do, but yes, we are documenting and we will investigate,” Jesus Salvador Quintana said. –DW
Thousands of Central American migrants – mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – made international headlines last October when they marched north through Mexico to the southern US border. Since then, several other caravans have made the same journey, claiming to flee violence and poverty in their home countries – yet in many cases refusing to accept offers of food, shelter and work in Mexico.