Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico (EFE) – Central American women from the migrant caravan are embarking on a dangerous journey to the United States in order to give a better life to their children, who they sometimes have to carry in their arms or even leave behind in their countries of origin.
Mothers on the border between Guatemala and the southwestern Mexican state of Chiapas told EFE that they are willing to do anything in order to cross into Mexico, as was found on Monday when several of them joined the hundreds of migrants who crossed the Suchiate River, despite the presence of the National Guard.
One of these women is the Honduran Jacqueline Barahona, a single mother who could only bring her 13-year-old son and left her 8- and 9-year-old children with their grandparents, a sacrifice she needs to make to get to the United States and send dollars to her family.
“Although we leave the family behind, the crime and poverty make us traverse these paths, to suffer – because we do suffer on these paths – but the most important thing is that we are alive, we come with our health,” Barahona told EFE.
Part of the migrant caravan – which has gathered in recent days nearly 5,000 people from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala – ran across the Suchiate River into Mexico on Monday.
However, the National Institute of Migration (INM for its acronym in Spanish) subsequently reported that their attempt at the crossing was unsuccessful, as 402 people were arrested, another 40 were returned to the border with Guatemala, and 58 are still being sought after they fled into the jungle.
The migrant mothers refused the offer by Mexico’s INM, which promised controlled access for women, minors, and other vulnerable groups, for fear of being deported, so they joined the men who crossed the river out of distrust of the government.
“I say ‘open up there’ because we’re going to work, we’re not going to do bad things! Because it’s not fair for us to come from there and they send us back. I mean, it’s not fair – they should have a conscience and let us pass into Mexico,” expressed Guatemalan Dinorah Garcia, while she carried her son in her arms across the Rodolfo Robles bridge on the border.
In the emerging camps that were established by the government of Guatemala with the help of international organizations, there was even a one-month-old baby, specialists from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reported, indicating that there are special health needs for mothers and their children.
For instance, there are women, such as the Honduran Sarya Silva, who don’t have many options other than to force her children to walk beneath the hot sun, because they are seeking to arrive in the United States so her family can access educational and health services that are inaccessible in her country.
“I beg Mexico to understand me. For my children, more than anything, because I am bringing with me a very sick girl, who was born without a rectum. I want them to give better medical attention to my daughter because she does not gain weight or grow. All we ask the Government is that they help us,” the migrant commented.
The number of foreign adults who presented themselves to Mexican migration authorities increased 98% in the first 11 months of 2019 in comparison to the same period the year prior, according to the Migration Policy, Registration, and Identity of Persons Unit of the Ministry of the Interior.
In 2019, there were 39,192 adult women who presented themselves through November, while in 2018 there were 19,796, as detailed in the 2019 Synthesis of Migration Statistics, which added that nearly one in three people deported are women.
Women like the Honduran Alicia Damez beg them to stop the deportations, which they consider inhumane treatment, of the growing number of women who are forced to migrate with their children.
“What a bad thing they do. Because one has such a hard time getting here, just to be sent back. Look, even withstanding hunger, the sun, walking with the kids and everything,” Damez told EFE outside the Tecún Umán Migrant’s House, while with her four- and seven-year-old children.
The woman is part of the migrant caravan, the first of 2020, which left last week from Honduras, heading toward the United States, following a call on social media.
This type of mobilization has occurred since October of 2018, when thousands of migrants entered Mexico fleeing poverty and violence, with the goal of arriving in the United States, which provoked tensions between the Mexican and US governments.
Both countries agreed in June 2019 that the United States would withdraw its threat to impose tariffs on Mexican products, in exchange for the Mexican government deploying the National Guard along the border with Guatemala to stop the flow of migrants.