Central American migrants continued to fight for a rest area in a Mexico City stadium on Wednesday, with around 4,500 offers to stay in Mexico against the desire of many to reach the US border.
Officials in Mexico City said they expected another 1,000 more to arrive at the Jesus Martinez Stadium as members of the caravan would lag behind. Their journey was slowed by the difficulty of driving or hopping aboard trucks.
Angel Eduardo Cubas from La Ceiba, Honduras, arrived at the shelter early Wednesday after being split off from the caravan. Like many migrants, he had to find his way back to the relative safety of the caravan in a foreign country without money.
"There were a lot of people who were dropped off elsewhere," said Cubas, who once lost his two children 2 and 6 before he could find them again. "It was ugly to search around," said the 28-year-old father.
Relatives of caravaners of migrants whom President Donald Trump addressed as a key issue in the US midterm elections refused to decide immediately on Tuesday night whether to stay in Mexico or move further north, and at least some of them decided Days in the capital.
"Nobody is in a hurry to go to the US border, but we all have to go together," said Sara Rodriguez of Colon, Honduras.
Rodriguez, 34, fled her country with her 16-year-old daughter Emily after the girl started to attract unwanted attention from a drug trafficker who had just come out of prison and promised to follow her. Rodriguez has left her seven-year-old son with her husband in Honduras. "Even though it hurts to leave my son … I had to protect her," Rodriguez said, crying.
Mexico has provided migrants with refugee, asylum or work visas, and the government has indicated that 2,697 temporary visas have been issued to individuals and families to cover them while awaiting the 45-day application process for a more permanent status ,
Rina Valenzuela, a native of El Salvador, listened attentively to how she assisted volunteers from the Charitable Institute for Women in Migration when she explained the difficulties arising from the US and applying for asylum. Valenzuela decided that she would rather apply in Mexico.
"Why are we struggling with so much effort and suffering as we've gone through just to turn them back? Well, no," she said.
Hundreds of city employees and even more volunteers helped sort out donations and direct migrants to food, water, diapers, and other foundations. Migrants searched piles of donated clothing, grabbed children's milk crates, and lined up to get home quickly at a Red Cross stand.
Employees of the capital's Human Rights Commission registered new arrivals with biographical data such as age and country of origin, and put yellow bracelets on their wrists to count the growing crowd.
Maria Yesenia Perez, 41, said there was no room in the stadium when she and her 8-year-old daughter arrived on Tuesday evenings. So the two from Honduras slept outside in the grass. Migrants pitched tents in the parking lot and built plywood shelters with blankets and tarpaulins. Forty portable toilets were scattered in the grass.
Several smaller groups moved south hundreds of miles; Officials estimated around 7,000 were in the country in the caravans.
Trump has portrayed the caravan as a major threat, although such caravans have been created regularly over the years and have largely gone unnoticed.
Former Honduran legislator Bartolo Fuentes, who denies allegations he started the caravan, described it as a natural reaction "to a situation worse than the war". He said about 300 to 400 Hondurans would leave their country on an average day.
"What do we have here? The accumulation of 20 days" of normal emigration, he said.