Citizen Truth reporter Jenna Mulligan, who is stationed in Mexico, traveled to meet and interview the migrant caravan first-hand as it arrived in Mexico City. This is the first of her reports.
After spending five days resting in Mexico City with the support of humanitarian groups and municipal aid, some members of the migrant caravan left Mexico City to continue to travel north while thousands of others accepted Mexico’s offer of asylum. The following is a look inside the caravan at its resting stop in Mexico City.
The group that moved on voted to continue and left on Friday morning, Nov. 9, crossing the city on the metro and then continuing north on foot, bound for Querétaro.
Una fractura de la primera #CaravanaMigrante empieza a salir de la estación de Metro Cuatro Caminos, en el norte de CDMX. Son cientos y se dirigen a Querétaro, a 220 km de la capital. Otro grupo más grande permanece en el albergue hasta el momento pic.twitter.com/UE6hT2enJT
— Elias Camhaji (@eliascamhaji) November 9, 2018
Mexico City Shelters Thousands in Migrant Caravan
Mexico City continues to house thousands at the Jesus Martinez “Palillo” stadium, and officials expect to receive many thousands more, who have followed the lead migrant caravan that left from Honduras in October.
The city is preparing to accept them for as long as necessary, according to Nashieli Ramirez, ombudsman for the city’s human rights commission.
“We have the space in terms of humanitarian help,” Ramirez said.
This city human rights commission registered each individual as they arrived, and collected biographical data such as age and country of origin.
The first wave of migrants began to arrive in Mexico City last week on Monday night, and by Thursday there were more than 7,000 individuals in the stadium complex, significantly overfilling the capacity. Women and children were given priority to sleep within four large canvas tents erected on concrete outside, while single men slept along the benches of the stadium seating. Families who arrived later in the week set up small tents and shelters in the grass.
More than just accommodation was necessary to support the migrants as they reached the city in throngs through last week. “There are pregnant women, many children, vulnerable people, and we have to guarantee the space and the services they require,” said city leader José Ramón Amieva Gálvez.
Medics administered treatment for blisters, respiratory diseases and diarrhea. Migrants also had psychological consults and treatment available.
Volunteers and city employees helped serve meals, and the Mexico City central market donated 3.5 tons of bananas and guavas, as well as 600 bottles of water.
In one section of the stadium grounds, migrants formed serpentine lines to receive donated clothing and cash assistance. Nearby, a group of volunteers dressed as clowns performed songs and stories for young children seated around them.
Other nonprofits provided asylum counseling and advised the migrants on the challenges and current environment of the United States southern border.
According to data provided by the Mexican government, 2,793 individuals from the caravan accepted President Nieto’s offer of temporary work visas by November 3. These individuals will not continue north in search of higher wages but will be provided with health benefits and the ability to enroll their children in school.
Still, the majority of the first caravan will continue toward the border to apply for asylum. As they file out of Mexico City, officials expect the stadium will be swiftly refilled by waves of caravans following behind.