U.S. bound migrants from Central America and the Caribbean were captured by an operative carried out by the Mexican Immigration Institute, the army and the national guard on Thursday (September 9) in the town of Las Choapas in Veracruz.
29-year old Haitian migrant Wilson Vaaleus, who is travelling north with his wife and two children, talked to Reuters at a migrant shelter in the town of Coatzacoalcos on Friday (September 10).
He has already tried to reach the United States five times and has been returned to the southern border of Mexico by authorities.
“I’ve spent more than $50,000 Mexican pesos so they would take me and my wife to the border. It’s an abuse, they are mistreating us,” he said.
Migration was one of the top issues in the high-level talks in Washington, where officials agreed to pursue development programs in southern Mexico and Central America aimed at tackling the economic causes that drive immigration to the United States.
Ahead of the talks, Lopez Obrador said Mexican officials and security forces have “complete and absolute respect for human rights” of migrants and heralded the Washington discussions as the beginning of a “new stage” in migration politics.
Migrants said on Thursday that a Mexican government crackdown was keeping them “prisoner” in the south of the country.
But in the lead-up to the bilateral discussions, Mexico faced mounting pressure from Washington to take immediate steps to curtail U.S.-bound immigration, even as frustration among migrants in Tapachula boiled over and hundreds of people departed the city in a series of caravans.
In response, Mexico deployed security forces, including the heavily militarized National Guard, to block, sometimes violently the groups, which included many families and young children.
(Production: Tamara Corro, Manuel Carrillo, Nina Lopez)