More than 5,000 migrants have arrived in Mexico City after a grueling 1,000-mile journey across three countries in just as many weeks.
Police, city employees, humanitarian aid groups and countless volunteers converged on Jesus Martinez stadium, a sports venue that has been converted into a temporary shelter for the thousands expected to arrive from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
Mexico City is the caravan’s longest pit stop so far. The first among the group trickled into the city on Saturday with thousands more arriving in the days since. No decision has been made on when to resume the trek northward, but there is talk among the migrants that it could be as soon as this weekend.
In the meantime, migrants have received medical treatment, rummaged through piles of donated clothes, and lined up to make quick calls home in stations set up by the Red Cross.
“The caravan has been a lot harder than I thought,” said Jonathan Suazo Rodriguez, a 23-year-old migrant from Colon, Honduras.“I’ve thought about turning back, but then I think what you have to endure back home, and I have to keep moving forward.”
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been encouraging them to stay— offering asylum, visas, and jobs to any migrant who wants it, stepping up the weeks-long effort to halt the advance US-bound caravan that became the rallying cry for Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections.
“We’re operating under the assumption that at least half of them will stay in the city or the country” said Nashieli Ramirez, ombudsman for the city’s human rights commission. “These people need to receive all the pertinent information and then make their own decision.”
So far, close to 3,000 migrants have taken them up on that offer, according to Mexican officials, but thousands more are still determined to reach the United States southern border.
Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News
Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com
Follow VICE News here:
More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideo