MEXICO CITY, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — More than 2,200 Central American migrants, part of a caravan heading north to the United States, have reached Mexico’s capital, local officials said on Monday.
The migrants, mainly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, began arriving in Mexico City on Sunday and officials estimate their number could reach 5,000 by late Monday.
As the migrants, including women and children, reached the city limits, authorities and representatives of the local Human Rights Commission directed them to a temporary shelter at a sports stadium, where they received food, medicines and clothing.
Several migrants interviewed by Xinhua said they were determined to reach the border town of Tijuana to apply for asylum in the United States, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to repel the caravan.
Trump has deployed troops along the borderline to deter attempted entry by undocumented migrants.
Honduran migrant Melissa, 38, is from the northern Honduran town of San Pedro Sula. She said that she and her neighbors decided to join the northward migration in the hopes of finding a job. She is unemployed and has two children to care for.
The migrants have traveled more than 1,000 km in Mexico alone, mostly on foot, though sometimes they hitch rides on cargo trucks or rail cars.
Tijuana, on Mexico’s northwest border with California, lies some 2,800 km away from Mexico City, but Melissa said she felt they were close to reaching their goal.
Mexico has offered asylum to those who are eligible, and thousands have accepted, according to the government.
In the meantime, the migrants are sheltering inside huge tents set up at the stadium, and equipped with makeshift showers and an area to wash clothes.
The first caravan has been followed by another two currently making their way north through Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas.
While undocumented migrants have been flowing north to the United States for years, drawn by the prospect of earning a living wage, this organized exodus has prompted widespread media coverage in Central America, Mexico and the United States.
The Trump administration recently ended a two-decade program that offered undocumented Hondurans protection from deportation.