Hun­dreds of mi­grants leave Mex­ico City

More con­tinue to wait to re­sume trek to­ward U.S.

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - By Mark Steven­son and Christo­pher Sher­man The As­so­ci­ated Press

MEX­ICO CITY — About 900 Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants headed out of Mex­ico City on Fri­day to em­bark on the long­est and most dan­ger­ous leg of their jour­ney to the U.S. bor­der, while thou­sands more were wait­ing one more day at a mas­sive im­pro­vised shel­ter.

The group that got a head start bun­dled their few pos­ses­sions and started off, tak­ing a sub­way to the north part of the city and then hik­ing down an ex­press­way with a po­lice es­cort.

Car­los Cas­tanaza, a 29-year-old plumber from Gu­atemala City, wrapped him­self from head to toe in a blan­ket against the cold.

De­ported for driv­ing with­out a li­cense af­ter a decade work­ing in Con­necti­cut, Cas­tanaza was des­per­ate to get back to his two U.s.-born chil­dren. “I’ve been want­ing to get back for more than a year, but I couldn’t un­til the car­a­van came through,” he said. “That’s why I joined the car­a­van.”

The group hoped to reach Quere­taro, about 105 miles to the north­west, by night­fall.

Mean­while, at least 4,000 mi­grants milled around the mas­sive shel­ter im­pro­vised at a Mex­ico City sports com­plex.

Ninety per­cent of the re­main­ing mi­grants will depart the sta­dium early Sat­ur­day on their long trek to Ti­juana, first tak­ing the sub­way to the north­ern exit from Mex­ico’s cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to Nashieli Ramirez, di­rec­tor of Mex­ico’s Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

From there, they will pass through the Mex­i­can ci­ties of Quere­taro, Guadala­jara, Cu­li­a­can and Her­mosillo on their way to the U.S. bor­der, Ramirez said, adding that 400 mi­grants had cho­sen to stay in Mex­ico City.

The gover­nor of Quere­taro state, Fran­cisco Dominguez, said the mi­grants would stay at Cor­regi­dora sta­dium in the state’s cap­i­tal and that au­thor­i­ties were ready to host 4,000 peo­ple.

Car­a­van co­or­di­na­tor Mil­ton Ben­itez said of­fi­cials had of­fered them buses for women and chil­dren but or­ga­niz­ers de­manded that they be for ev­ery­one. By Fri­day, the mi­grants said they were so an­gry at the U.N.’S lack of help that they no longer wanted U.N. ob­servers with the car­a­van.

The United Na­tions on Fri­day de­nied the of­fer, re­leas­ing a state­ment say­ing its agen­cies “are un­able to pro­vide the trans­porta­tion de­manded by some mem­bers of the car­a­van.”

Mex­ico has of­fered refuge, asy­lum or work visas to the mi­grants, and its gov­ern­ment said 2,697 tem­po­rary visas had been is­sued to in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies to cover them while they wait for the 45-day ap­pli­ca­tion process for a more per­ma­nent sta­tus.

On Wed­nes­day, a bus left from Mex­ico City to re­turn 37 peo­ple to their coun­tries of ori­gin.

But many want to con­tinue on to­ward the United States.

Ro­drigo Abd

The As­so­ci­ated Press A Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grant by­passes a sub­way turn­stile af­ter leav­ing the tem­po­rary shel­ter in Mex­ico City on Fri­day. About900 mi­grants on Fri­day em­barked on the long­est and most dan­ger­ous leg of their jour­ney to­ward the U.S. bor­der.

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