DIARIO DEL SUR (Mexico)
ARRIAGA – The impoverished Mexican state of Chiapas couldn’t be less hospitable to the many Central American migrants who cross over from Guatemala in search of better opportunities up north.
In the border town of Arriaga, criminals prey on the new arrivals, as do coyotes (people smugglers) and even local authorities, who harass and exploit them, Diario del Sur reports. Most of the migrants sleep outdoors, on sidewalks or benches, since the only shelter – the Church-run “Home of Mercy” – is full beyond capacity.
And yet these Central Americans, who arrive in some cases after walking hundreds of miles, keep crossing over. Not only that, but their numbers appear to be rising significantly. “Yes, the flow of migrants has increased,” says Heyman Vázquez Medina, a Catholic priest who runs the Home or Mercy. “There are twice as many now. Before, 30, sometimes 40 migrants would arrive each day. Now we receive 80 or more migrants… they say there’s no work in their countries.”
Many of the newcomers are children or adolescents. Vázquez suspects some are on the run from the maras, violent street gangs that operate in places like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Read the full story in Spanish