New group of 2,000 migrants sets off in southern Mexico

TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) — A new group of about 2,000 migrants set out walking Monday in southern Mexico with the goal of reaching the United States.

The group started out from the city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, where thousands of migrants have been stranded and frustrated by slow paperwork at overcrowded Mexican immigration offices.

“It is tough, but we’ll keep on going in hopes they’ll let us through,” said Nicaraguan migrant Moisés Chinchilla, who like most hopes to get a temporary residence permit.

Recent marches, made up mostly of entire families, have managed to advance only about 45 kilometers (28 miles) to the town of Huixtla, where Mexican officials have succeeded in dispersing the groups by giving out the permits.

The permits allow the migrants, mostly Venezuelans and Central Americans, to stay on Mexican territory for up 30 days while they pursue immigration procedures.

While many migrants try to use the permits to give them time to reach the U.S. border, many are sent back to the south by Mexican officials.

Many object to the Mexican strategy of keeping them in the south, away from the U.S. border. They say the process of normalizing their status — usually through applying for asylum — takes too long and they can’t provide for themselves while waiting weeks in Tapachula because jobs are scarce.

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