PIJIJIAPAN, Mexico – Mexican police and immigration agents arrested hundreds of Central American migrants on Monday for the largest single attack on a caravan of migrants since the groups visited the country last year, marking the end of a caravan of some 3,000 migrants who made their way through the southern state of Chiapas, hoping to reach the US border.
As migrants under the burning heat outside the city of Pijijiapan (state) under the shadow of police officers and agents came in patrol cars and vans and violently wrestled women, men and children in the vehicles.
The migrants were driven to buses, presumably for subsequent transport to an immigration station for deportation processing. According to Associated Press journalists at the scene, up to 500 migrants may have been picked up during the raid.
Some of the women and children wailed and screamed during the roadside arrest. Clothes, shoes, suitcases and strollers scattered the scene after they were taken away.
27-year-old Kevin Escobar from Honduras was one of about 500 migrants who fled to private property to avoid immigration agents. Sitting on the property, he shouted at her, "Why do you want to arrest me?"
Escobar vowed he would never return to his hometown of San Pedro Sula and said, "The gangs abduct everyone there."  Agents had encouraged groups of migrants who separated from the bulk of the caravan to rest on the street after about seven hours, about half of them under the sweltering sun. When the migrants regrouped to continue, they were detained.
Agents lined up at the top of the group and back. Some plainclothes people appeared to have participated in the arrests.
After seeing what had happened, some migrants began to walk in dense groupings, collecting stones and sticks distance.
"We document what happens," said Jesús Salvador Quintana, a Commission official. "We can not tell the relevant authorities what to do, but yes, we will document and we will investigate."
Mexico welcomed the first caravans last year, but the reception has become colder since tens of thousands of migrants overwhelmed US border crossings. This has led to delays on the border and rage among Mexican residents.
Last Friday, local media reported a series of arrests of migrants in nearby Mapastepec, where thousands were waiting for their migratory status to normalize.
The Mexican National Migration Institute does not respond immediately to requests. The National Human Rights Commission said it interviewed more than 200 people detained in Mapastepec.
The arrest came when the US stepped up public pressure on Mexico to stop the flow of migrants. President Donald Trump has agreed with the government of his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and threatened to close the entire border, but congratulated Mexico for arresting migrants a few weeks ago.
Mexico already allows the United States to do so Bring some asylum seekers back to Mexico while their cases prevail. Government officials said in March that they would try to stem migrants heading north on the isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the south of the country, which is the easiest to control. Pijijiapan and Mapastepec stand on the isthmus.
In its last statement last week, the Migration Institute said that 5,336 migrants to Chiapas were in shelters or immigration centers, and over 1,500 of them were awaiting deportation.
The Sun Rights Commission said more than 7,500 migrants are being detained, in shelters or on the road in the southern state on Sunday. She called on the authorities to do a proper census of migrants and take care of their needs, especially children.
Most migrants who had come to southern Mexico in groups in recent weeks came from Honduras. There they joined former migrant groups from other Central American countries as well as some Cubans and Africans.