Mi­grants weigh op­tions on trek to U.S.

The Mercury News - - News - By Maria Verza and Christo­pher Sher­man

MEX­ICO CITY >> Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants on Wed­nes­day con­tin­ued to strag­gle in for a rest stop at a Mex­ico City sta­dium, where about 4,500 con­tinue to weigh of­fers to stay in Mex­ico against the de­sire of many to reach the U.S. bor­der.

Mex­ico City of­fi­cials said they ex­pected as many as 1,000 more might ar­rive at the Je­sus Martinez sta­dium as lag­ging mem­bers of the car­a­van trail in, their jour­neys slowed by dif­fi­cul­ties in get­ting rides or by hop­ping aboard trucks that veered off their route.

An­gel Ed­uardo Cubas of La Ceiba, Hon­duras, reached the shel­ter early Wed­nes­day af­ter be­ing split off from the car­a­van. Like many mi­grants he had to find his way back to the rel­a­tive safety of the car­a­van in an un­fa­mil­iar coun­try, with no money.

“There were a lot of peo­ple who got dropped off some­where else,” said Cubas, who at one point lost his two chil­dren, 2 and 6, be­fore find­ing them again. “It was ugly, go­ing around look­ing” for his kids, the 28-year-old fa­ther said.

Mem­bers of the car­a­vans of mi­grants, which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump made a cen­tral is­sue in U.S. midterm elec­tions, de­clined to take an im­me­di­ate de­ci­sion Tues­day night on whether to stay in Mex­ico or con­tinue north, opt­ing to re­main in the cap­i­tal at least a cou­ple more days.

“No­body is in more of a hurry than me to get go­ing (to the U.S. bor­der), but we have to go all to­gether,” said Sara Ro­driguez of Colon, Hon­duras.

Ro­driguez, 34, fled her coun­try with her 16-yearold daugh­ter Emily, af­ter the girl be­gan to draw un­wanted at­ten­tion from a drug traf­ficker who just got of prison and pledged to go af­ter her. Ro­driguez left her 7-yearold son with her hus­band in Hon­duras. “Even though it hurts to leave my son ... I had to pro­tect her,” Ro­driguez said, weep­ing.

Mex­ico has of­fered refuge, asy­lum or work visas to the mi­grants and the 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.

Hun­dreds of city em­ploy­ees and even more vol­un­teers helped sort do­na­tions and di­rect mi­grants to­ward food, wa­ter, di­a­pers and other ba­sics. Mi­grants searched through piles of do­nated clothes, grabbed boxes of milk for chil­dren and lined up to make quick calls home at a stand set up by the Red Cross.

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