A migrant girl from Haiti, traveling with her parents, walks outside a stadium while waiting to apply for humanitarian visas issued by Mexican authorities to be able to cross Mexican territory to reach the U.S. border, in Tapachula, Mexico November 24, 2021. TAPACHULA, Nov 25 Reuters - Mexican officials have begun dispersing several hundred migrants in the southern city of Tapachula by busing them to other states to avoid the prospect of a new caravan heading north.
The migrants, mostly from Haiti and parts of Latin America, had been in limbo in Tapachula in Chiapas state while waiting for asylum and visa requests to be resolved.
Migrant rights activist Luis Carcia Villagran has called the city a prison because of the fact that migrants were unable to leave without paperwork. In recent weeks, two groups of migrants had left in mass caravans headed north, in part to raise visibility of their plight and demand a response from the Mexican government.
The transfers of Tapachula began Wednesday night with 120 Haitian migrants ferried from Tapachula to the states of Durango, Campeche and Aguascalientes, an official at Mexico's national migration institute INM said on Thursday.
The person said more migrants are due to be taken to Puebla and Guanajuato and will be able to continue their applications for asylum status and visas and will be able to stay in the state of Guanajuato.
Hector Martinez, an INM official in Tapachula, told migrants that 20 buses would leave the city today in total.
On Tuesday, officials had begun similar transfers of migrants in the town of Mapastepec in Chiapas, dissolving a caravan that had left Tapachula several days before. The migrants agreed to leave the route and be taken elsewhere in exchange for Mexican visas.
In Tapachula, Haitian migrant Wilguens Antoine said he did not know where Mexican officials would take him, but he was relieved to be leaving Tapachula, where he had no money to pay for lodging or take care of his family.
He said that he's happy because I'm going to another city where I can work to help my family, because I'm going to another city, shortly before boarding a bus provided by migration officials.
Some 600 people are expected to be moved out of Tapachula, according to Villagran.
This is a way to avoid mass movements of Haitians, Cubans and all those who were prepared to leave tomorrow in a caravan he said.