Mexico: plan for Venezuelan migrants begins to bear fruit

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (HPD) — A few days before the start of the new plan to manage the flow of Venezuelan migrants en route to the United States, the Mexican government said irregular crossings had been substantially reduced and conducted a joint deterrent exercise. with the Guatemalan government at one of the crossings with that country.

Arturo Rocha, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicated through Twitter that in recent days arrivals to the United States through the border with Mexico have been reduced by 90% and irregular crossings through the border had also decreased by 80%. Darién, the jungle that separates Colombia from Panama.

Under the new program, Washington will grant up to 24,000 temporary visas to Venezuelans who register online, have a sponsor in the United States, and enter the country by air. But, at the same time, he will expel back to Mexico those who arrive by land, which was where most of them crossed. So far it has returned more than 1,700 Venezuelans, according to the Mexican government.

So the message from both countries was to stay where they were and not continue on their way north.

According to Rocha, more than 7,500 applications for these temporary visas have already been processed and the first 100 flights have been approved.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador trusted that the program could be expanded in the future and recalled that it is important for migrants to know that they can apply for the new plan “without going through Mexico” because those who now enter the country irregularly will no longer be able to access them.

The president added that the National Migration Institute had begun work to inform migrants. On the border with Guatemala, however, information did not proliferate, but military exercises on the border bridge to dissuade migrants did.

“This is how we must act, first Grupo Beta, then the National Guard, in case there are attacks from a possible caravan,” said a military man who gave orders during the training of the agents on the international bridge on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, a few meters from that point, the migrants continued to cross the Suchiate River on the artisanal rafts that are in constant movement between Guatemalan and Mexican territory.

Upon entering Mexico, most approached the immigration authorities to surrender. The Associated Press did not note that migrants crossing the river were offered any information about the US plan at that point.

The officials, as they have been doing for months, gave them an exit letter and told them that they could go to a town 300 kilometers further north — San Pedro Tapanatepec — to continue their efforts there.

At that point of the isthmus, the narrowest place in Mexico and, therefore, much easier to control than the porous border with Guatemala, thousands of migrants have been accumulating for weeks in a huge camp where the Mexican National Migration Institute gave them some documents. with which, in practice, they could legally transit through the country.

Now, according to what Héctor Martínez Castuera, director of the INM Coordination Offices, said on Friday in brief statements to the press on the border with Guatemala, such documents are no longer being issued.

“There (in Tapanatepec) we installed a shelter that is for migrant care, a large shelter, but we are not giving any format right now, simply and simply, they are being guided so that they come to try to regularize themselves,” he said.

Martínez Castuera added that Mexico is analyzing the return of Venezuelans, something that is complicated because the government in Caracas generally does not accept them, and said that “many Venezuelans” have requested it.

Guatemalan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jovany Castillo, who was present at the border bridge exercises, said that migration is a shared problem and that is why the countries are seeking joint solutions, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to people on the move.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was scheduled for Friday meetings with international agencies to design a humanitarian plan to care for migrants. Thousands of Venezuelans are now in Mexico without being clear about their plans.

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