The Caravan of Migrants Heading to America through Mexico and Getting Trapped in Hell

TAPACHULA, Mexico—Because the Mexican National Guard marched alongside the freeway, Nilton Aguilar, a 41-year-old man from Guatemala, held his 9-month-old child daughter tightly towards his chest.

The final time he and his household tried to exit Tapachula—a small Mexican metropolis on the border with Guatemala—to go north to the U.S. in August, Nilton mentioned that Mexican immigration authorities tackled him to the bottom, took his child from his arms and beat him for hours earlier than throwing him in jail for 3 months. He informed The Every day Beast that by the point he was launched, his household had already been deported to Guatemala, the place he had returned to reunite with them after leaving jail.

Now Nilton is making an attempt once more, and this time he’s certainly one of roughly 4,000 migrants in a northbound caravan that departed Tapachula on Oct. 23 with two major objectives: attending to Mexico City to stress Mexican immigration authorities to offer authorized paperwork for them to maneuver freely contained in the nation, after which making it to America.

All through the journey, Nilton’s different 4 kids are pressed between their father and mom, following them intently. The intense warmth, the heavy occasional rains and the massive variety of kids and pregnant ladies within the caravan have slowed down the tempo of the group, advancing solely round 20 km every day.

“It received’t occur to me once more,” mentioned Nilton, standing beside his household, underneath the shade of a tree. “That is the third time we’ve tried to go away Tapachula in a caravan, and now we have determined to make all of it the best way to the U.S. this time.”


Nilton’s household rests underneath a shade after strolling for 10 miles underneath the new climate from Huixtla to Villa Comatitlan.

Luis Chaparro

The household did make it farther than they did final time. After the boys on the entrance of the migrant caravan clashed and handed by the Nationwide’s Guard blockade, Nilton knew that they had made it out of town limits of Tapachula to the primary freeway that ultimately results in Mexico Metropolis.

Nilton defined that the caravan offered security in numbers, making it his solely method out of Tapachula with out being overwhelmed and deported again residence. Beneath intense stress from the U.S., Mexico has primarily constructed an “immigration jail” out of Tapachula. Right here, Mexico’s military and immigration authorities have put in quite a few checkpoints alongside each freeway to dam migrants with out paperwork from making it into the U.S.

“There isn’t any different method [to leave Tapachula] however to affix a caravan and pray we don’t get arrested once more.”

“That is, right now, America’s greatest immigration jail,” mentioned Luis Villagran, an activist for the rights of migrants and founding father of the NGO Pueblos Unidos Migrantes. “Beginning throughout the current administration, Mexican authorities have put in violent ways to cease free migration.”

In an settlement with the U.S. after a collection of bilateral discussions earlier this yr, Mexican authorities have dedicated to deploying about 10,000 troops over the southern border “to make it tougher to make the journey, and make crossing the borders tougher,” as White Home press secretary Jen Psaki put it in an April press convention.

As of October, Mexican authorities had greater than 28,000 navy deployed between each borders, surpassing the roughly 21,000 U.S. Border Patrol brokers deployed on American borders.


Locals hand out water to migrants contained in the caravan outdoors of Huixtla on their method north to the subsequent city earlier than arriving to Mexico Metropolis.

Luis Chaparro

Carlos, a 46-year-old man from El Salvador, is aware of this “immigration jail” all too nicely. He says he’s been deported twice from the U.S. to El Salvador, and that that is his third time becoming a member of a migrant caravan.

“I’m right here alone, I don’t have household both in El Salvador or the U.S. I used to be deported for the second time a number of months in the past, after being arrested in New Jersey,” he informed The Every day Beast. Carlos wouldn’t share his final identify or the rationale behind his alleged arrest, however mentioned that earlier than being deported from the U.S. for the primary time two years in the past, he had spent 5 years working in New Jersey.

Carlos mentioned he was not conscious of the caravan till the identical day he crossed illegally from Guatemala to Tapachula. “My plan was to get throughout and wait in Tapachula to get an opportunity to maintain going north, however that very same day I realized a caravan was leaving early within the morning and I joined,” he mentioned. “I’ve nothing to do in El Salvador, the Maras [gangs] and the financial system doesn’t enable us to work or to dwell with dignity.”

For Nilton, making it to the U.S. is value risking his life for.

“We had been caught in Tapachula for 2 months earlier than leaving, simply ready for the day the caravan began. There isn’t any different method [to leave Tapachula] however to affix a caravan and pray we don’t get arrested once more,” mentioned Nilton.

This might be the third migrant caravan trying to get to the U.S. this yr. In January, a caravan with round 6,000 migrants departed Tapachula for the U.S., however after strolling greater than 120 kilometers, Mexican authorities raided the caravan and deported a whole lot. The second caravan departed within the final days of August and was violently blocked by Mexican immigration authorities earlier than leaving Tapachula. Throughout the conflict between officers and migrants a person was brutally kicked within the head by a Mexican immigration worker.


Carlos, from El Salvador, covers himself with an American flag as he walks on the middle of the caravan.

Luis Chaparro

Hopeful and decided to get to the U.S., Carlos says he depends on two issues: Biden’s “devotion to God” and an American flag he carries over his head.

“That is my passport,” he mentioned, stretching the worn out flag over his shoulders as he walks with the remainder of the caravan. “That is all of the passport I want.” way of=rss | The Caravan of Migrants Heading to America by Mexico and Getting Trapped in Hell


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