Leaders of a migrant caravan consisting of thousands of migrants have rejected humanitarian visas for some travelers as they continued the march towards the United States or Mexico city.
The Mexican National Institute of Migration (INM) said that it offered humanitarian visas to pregnant women and children in the caravan but was rejected by leaders of the caravan, which set off from southern Mexico last week, according to Fox News.
The visas last a year and grant migrants access to public services like healthcare, as well as the ability to work, Reuters reported.
The caravan of migrants mainly consisted of South Americans, Central Americans, and Haitians. It left the town of Huehuetán in the south of Mexico on Oct. 23.
Organizers Luis Rey García Villagrán and Irineo Mújica had migrants sign up with QR codes to join the convoy.
In an interview with Reuters, Mújica said that many caravan members were distrustful of the migration officials due to what he described as broken promises in the past, such as arrests and deportations.
Garcia told Fox News that the caravan was approximately 4,000 strong with more than 400 children between the ages 7-18, and 100 babies under the age of one. In addition, 65 pregnant women (three being more than eight months pregnant) and four wheelchair bound migrants had joined the caravan.
Having travelled 60 miles, many caravan members have reportedly developed foot injuries, respiratory problems, and infections.
Volunteer doctor Kabir Sanchez told Reuters that “more than 50 percent of the people in the caravan are sick.”
The INM had also reported six cases of dengue amongst members of the caravan, including five children.
Sanchez also said that caravan members had possible cases of COVID-19 but were not confirmed with tests.
The Biden administration had blamed root causes in Central and South America as factors causing the recent influx in illegal immigrants.
Republicans, on the other hand, blamed the border-crisis on the Biden administration’s decision to halt the border wall construction, and to reinstitute the Obama administration’s catch-and-release policy.
Just last month, The Washington Times reported that catch-and-release numbers increased a whopping 430,000 percent from August 2020 to August 2021 at the US-Mexico border.
Catch and release allows illegal aliens to be released into the country after being arrested by border patrol agents. Under the conditions of their release, these illegal immigrants are expected to appear for a court hearing at a later date.
However, the Center for Immigration Studies, which describes itself as “a non-partisan, non-profit research organization,” found that about half of these released illegal immigrants failed to appear to court between 2015 and 2017 (pdf). In 2017, 43 percent did not show up to their court date.