Mexico sends buses for migrants in south, as thousands reach northern border with US daily

  • World
  • Tuesday, 03 Oct 2023

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Chile's President Gabriel Boric (not pictured) deliver a statement to the media at La Moneda government palace in Santiago, Chile, September 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado//File Photo

JUCHITAN, Mexico, Mexico (Reuters) -Several hundred migrants in southern Mexico awaited buses north on Monday under a new government program meant to help manage the numbers arriving, as Mexico's president said 10,000 people have been reaching the northern border with the U.S. daily.

Thousands of migrants have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in recent weeks, alarming officials in U.S. border cities and prompting delays to trade.

In the northern city of Tijuana on Monday, opposite San Diego, California, several dozen people scrambled over a part of the U.S. border wall that cuts across the beach at the Pacific Ocean in a video seen by Reuters.

More than 3,000 km (1,864 miles) south, at a bus terminal in the city of Juchitan in Oaxaca state, some migrants said they would enter the U.S. with appointments secured via a U.S. government app, CBP One, and request asylum.

"Let's wait for the appointment, because we've suffered so much just to get this far," said Victor Salma, from Venezuela.

Salma was among about 400 people, including families with small children, awaiting buses headed to the state capital or Mexico City.

Oaxaca officials opened the site last week in an effort to reduce risks for migrants, who had been gathering in large numbers at local bus terminals while trying to buy bus tickets north.

Jesus Gonzalez, a representative of the local civil protection agency, said 800 to 1,000 migrants pass through the Juchitan site per day.

Migrants must pay their own fares, ranging from 386 to 1,500 pesos (about $22-$85), and some people said they were awaiting money transfers from relatives, or seeking work, to raise funds.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at his morning news conference on Monday said about 6,000 people are entering southern Mexico daily, and that last week 10,000 migrants reached the U.S.-Mexico border every day.

In September, the number of migrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border was on pace to approach, or surpass, previous monthly highs.

Lopez Obrador called for countries to address root causes driving migration and lamented the deaths of 10 Cuban migrants in a traffic accident in southern Mexico on Sunday.

Many migrants have been undeterred by the challenges of the journey. Last week at the border in Ciudad Juarez, opposite Texas, a man crawled beneath coils of barbed wire as a young boy followed behind crying, "Papa, Papa."

According to four videos of the incident seen by Reuters, an armed man in Texas National Guard uniform then stepped in the man's path, and yelled, "I have no mercy, animals. Why did you send a baby? Why did you send a boy?"

Texas officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In response to questions from Reuters, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said maintenance was underway at the border where migrants crossed from Tijuana, and that smugglers look to take advantage of "temporary gaps in border infrastructure due to maintenance."

CBP added that it had taken steps to improve security and border infrastructure in the area.

The agency previously said it would impose consequences, including deportation, on migrants without a legal basis to stay in the U.S.

($1 = 17.6672 Mexican pesos)

(Reporting by Jose Cortes in Juchitan, Lizbeth Diaz in Tijuana; Additional reporting by Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey and Raul Cortes in Mexico City; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Gerry Doyle & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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