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Migrants weigh whether to stay in Mexico, resume trek to US
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Migrants weigh whether to stay in Mexico, resume trek to US

MEXICO CITY, November 8 ------ Thousands of Central American migrants will take at least a couple of days to rest in a Mexico City stadium as they debate whether to accept offers to stay in Mexico or continue their trek to the U.S. border. Humanitarian aid stepped up Tuesday for the roughly 4,500 Central American migrants gathered at the Jesus Martinez stadium after an arduous journey that has taken them through three countries in three weeks. Mexico City officials said they are bracing as many as 5,500 migrants at the sports complex as more trickle in.

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 definitively 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-year-old daughter Emily, after the girl began to draw unwanted attention from a drug trafficker. Mexico is offering refugee, asylum or work visas to the migrants. The government said 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them while they waited for the 45-day application process for a more permanent status.

In dozens of interviews since the initial caravan set out from Honduras more than three weeks ago, migrants have said they are escaping poverty and rampant violence. Many are families traveling with small children. Some say they left because they were threatened by gang members or had lost relatives to gang violence. Others say they hope to find work and send money to support relatives back home. Organizers are urging members of the caravan already in Mexico City to await the arrival of stragglers and perhaps even the other caravans further back. The idea is to find strength in numbers. The outpouring of support for the caravan that first set out from Honduras on Oct. 13 has inspired thousands of others to march north from Central America.

Former Honduran lawmaker Bartolo Fuentes, blamed by some for starting the caravan, re-joined the group in Mexico after being detained in Guatemala and deported to Honduras. Fuentes denied leading the movement, saying it was a natural response “to a situation more terrible than war.” He said about 300 to 400 Hondurans leave their country on an average day. “What do we have here then? The accumulation of 20 days” of normal emigration, he said.

Source: inquirer.net