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First wave of US-bound Central American asylum seekers arrive in Mexico City

5 Nov 2018 10:57

Islam Times - Mexico’s capital receives the first group of a caravan of Central American migrants traveling through the country towards the United States in search of better living conditions.

More than 1,000 asylum seekers -- mostly Hondurans -- were temporarily sheltered on Sunday at a sports stadium in Mexico City, which is located approximately 800 kilometers from closest US border crossings.

They are part of a 5,000-strong caravan of migrants that set off from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula around four weeks ago.

The Central American asylum seekers say they are fleeing gang violence and poverty in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, defying threats by US President Donald Trump, who plans to use the military to prevent their entrance.

“We have faith in God that we will do this, whatever the circumstances,” said migrant Mauricio Mancilla, who traveled with his six-year old son.

Local media reported that thousands more migrants are moving in separate groups in other Mexican states, including Veracruz, Puebla and Chiapas.

“This is an exodus,” Alejandro Solalinde, a migrant rights activist, said. “It’s without precedent.”

Some asylum seekers are said to be considering staying on in the country amid Trump’s threats.

Cesar Gomez, a 20-year old Guatemalan, said he joined the caravan in order to avoid the risks of traveling on his own or paying huge sums of money to traffickers.

“This was a good opportunity,” he said. “The first thing is to try for the United States. If not, maybe I will stay here.”

As US congressional elections draw near, President Donald Trump has stepped up its warnings to the migrants advancing towards the American soil.

He has ordered thousands of troops to the Mexican border, where units strung up razor wire this weekend.

Many analysts see the move as a scare-mongering tactic by Trump and his supporters to gain votes in Tuesday’s elections, which are viewed largely as a referendum on Trump’s presidency.

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