Coordinators of a caravan of several thousand Central American migrants moving through southern Mexico urged their members to rest on Sunday. The migrants vowed to go ahead anyway, but later changed their minds and reported that a child had been abducted.
The migrants said they would stay and hold a meeting in Tapanatepec on Sunday. Late Saturday night, groups of migrants ran through the streets of the city, saying a migrant child had been snatched. Something similar caused a panic at an earlier stop but was not confirmed.
After the authorities had stopped for several hours when the police stopped their departure from the city of Arriaga on Saturday morning, most of the migrants in Tapanatepec encountered a heat. Dozens went to the river Novillero below the main square to bathe, wash clothes and cool. Others lined up at a medical supply station to draw attention to their battered feet.
For the first time, an arm of the federal government seemed to be directly helping the migrants instead of trying to downsize the caravan. In this case, Grupo Beta, Mexico's Immigration Department, gave out-runners runaways and distributed water.
At the regular evening caravan meeting in the town square, her coordinators tried to force a little chivalry.
Many of the migrants They were reluctant to switch between cities instead of going all the way. When trucks stop, it's usually young men sprinting to reach them first. Women who carry children or push strollers are disadvantaged.
On Saturday night, a nun scolded the men and urged the women to make the rides more aggressive. She said the church would help arrange five trucks to transport only women with children on the next trek to Niltepec some 54 km away.
"For me it's bad because there has to be equality because we all fight this way," said Hector Alvarado. The 25-year-old from Atlantida, Honduras, said he had to leave school and leave his wife and two-year-old daughter to earn a living in the US
Rosa Bonilla travels with a 1
"I do not agree that it should only be women with children," she said. She argued that husbands should be allowed because they help protect women.
"If we go alone everything could happen," she said.
The Mexican Government Torn to Stop Migrants from Traveling to the US Border (19659002) On Saturday, more than a hundred federal police blocked a highway in southern Mexico just before dawn to encourage migrants in the south To apply for refugee status instead of the long, arduous journey north. US President Donald Trump has called on Mexico to prevent the caravan from reaching the border.
Police continued to drive the caravan after representatives of the Mexican Human Rights Commission had convinced that there was no room for a rural section without shadows, toilets or water to provide migrants with an asylum offer. Many members of the caravan have been on the road for more than two weeks since a group first formed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Shortly after the caravan resumed its advance on Saturday, government officials helped.
Martin Rojas, an agent of the Mexican Immigration Service Grupo Beta, said he and his associates planned to use pickup trucks to help latecomers catch up with the caravan.
"There are people who pass out, are wounded there," said Rojas. who spoke with The Associated Press after dropping off a group of women and children in Tapanatepec where the caravan wanted to spend the night. Rojas transported the group to their destination after discovering it on a freeway that trotted at temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius.
The caravan still has to travel 1,600 kilometers to reach the next US border crossing in McAllen. Texas. The trip could be twice as long as the approximately 4,000 migrants head for the Tijuana-San Diego border, as another caravan had done earlier this year. Only about 200 in this group made it to the limit.
Most of the migrants in the caravan seemed determined to reach the US, despite an escape offer in Mexico.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto launched a "They Are At Home" program on Friday, promising protection, medical care, education and jobs for Americans who remain far from the Mexican state of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
Mexico's Interior Ministry said this temporary identity 111 migrants were reported under the program. The cards, called CURPs, empower migrants to stay and work in Mexico, and the ministry said pregnant women, children, and the elderly were among those who joined the program and were now housed in shelters.
—  Associated Press authors Julie Watson and Amy Guthrie have contributed to this report.