MEXICO CITY — Municipal authorities in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas have tried to block a caravan of about 2,000 Central American migrants from entering the town of Huixtla.
The Huixtla government declared an emergency Monday night and told stores to close when the migrants streamed in anyway.
Members of the caravan pushed past police and headed for the town centre, although authorities wanted them to stay at an improvised shelter farther away.
The municipality said in a taped statement that “the majority of the people coming are not coming peacefully, as we might have hoped.”
Officials also told people to stay indoors, warning the migrants were a threat to safety.
The town’s cold reception contrasts with the warm welcome it gave to caravans just last year.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission called on Monday for protective measures and government action for more than 8,800 migrants moving in various groups through the south of the country.
In a statement, the commission tallied five groups of migrants from various countries spread across several towns in the southern state of Chiapas. Some have been stuck in the area for several weeks while the most recent arrivals just crossed from Guatemala.
The commission said many of the migrants are not being given information about their applications for humanitarian visas or transit permits and lack adequate medical care.
Some 3,200 migrants are in the town of Mapastepec and have been told by authorities they may have to wait up to six months to get their paperwork to continue. That announcement Saturday touched off a protest and federal police had to be summoned to quell the disturbance. The National Migration Institute said it had decided to pull its agents out of the site for their safety.
The rights commission said there are also some 2,000 migrants housed at an immigration center in Tapachula that has a capacity for 960.
It said an additional 2,000 migrants left Tapachula early Monday walking toward the town of Huixtla. And about 1,600 migrants are in the border town of Ciudad Hidalgo after crossing from Guatemala.
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