Thousands of migrants heading to US ahead of talks over border crisis

US News

Thousands of migrants have been moving slowly north through Mexico towards the US, ahead of talks between the two countries over the illegal migration crisis at the border.

Pictures on Christmas Day showed a long line of people, some carrying placards and banners, children amongst them, setting out from Tapachula, in the far southeast of Mexico.

Around 8,000 migrants from Central America, Venezuela, Cuba and other countries – many of them families with young children – are estimated to be walking towards the US, organisers told Telemundo, an American-Spanish language news channel owned by NBC, Sky News’s US partner network.

Migrants depart from Tapachula, Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. The caravan started the trek north through Mexico just days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Mexico City to discuss new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the United States. (AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente)
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Pic: AP

Migrants depart from Tapachula, Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. The caravan started the trek north through Mexico just days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Mexico City to discuss new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the United States. (AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente)
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Some carried banners and placards. Pic: AP

The caravan began moving north on Christmas Eve, days before US secretary of state Antony Blinken arrives in Mexico City to discuss new agreements to control the surge of people trying to get into the US.

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Mr Blinken and US Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas are meeting Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday.

Pictures showed the migrants spent Christmas night sleeping on scraps of cardboard or plastic, stretched out under awnings, tents or on the bare ground.

“I was used to my Christmas dinner with the family, not spending it in the street as we did yesterday,” Eduviges Arias, a migrant from Venezuela, told the Associated Press.

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Migrants camp in Alvaro Obregon, Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. A caravan or migrants started the trek north from Tapachula on Sunday, just days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Mexico City to discuss new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the United States. (AP Photo/Edgard H. Clemente)
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Christmas night at a migrant camp in Alvaro Obregon. Pic: AP

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In the past, Mexico has let migrants travel through the country, trusting they would tire themselves out. No migrant caravan has ever walked the 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) to the US border.

It comes as the issue of illegal migration into the US from the south reaches crisis point.

A record number of undocumented migrants crossed the border last week, according to US customs officials.

Migrants depart from Tapachula, Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. The caravan started the trek north through Mexico just days before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Mexico City to discuss new agreements to control the surge of migrants seeking entry into the United States. (AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente)
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Around 8,000 people are taking part. Pic: AP

At the same time, a record number of migrants were being held in custody in US border facilities, NBC said, quoting three Homeland Security officials.

Mexico says it detected 680,000 migrants moving through the country in the first 11 months of 2023.

The State Department said the talks with its neighbour will focus on the “unprecedented irregular migration in the Western Hemisphere and identify ways Mexico and the United States will address border security challenges”.

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Donald Trump speaking about migration into the US at a rally

Last Thursday, Republican House speaker Mike Johnson sent a letter to President Joe Biden, blaming him for the border crisis and urging him to act “to stem the record tide of illegal immigration”.

Donald Trump, the overwhelming favourite to be the party’s nominee to face Mr Biden in next year’s presidential election, recently said migrants were “poisoning the blood of America” during a rally.

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