Thousands of mostly Venezuelan migrants and refugees began receiving temporary Mexican visas as they prepared to continue their trek towards the United States.
They had set up a temporary camp on a basketball court in the southern Mexican town of Huixtla, some 40km (25 miles) from where they began their journey close to the Guatemala border.
Immigration authorities in Huixtla began slowly processing temporary visas for the migrants and refugees, which will allow them to stay in Mexico for 30 days without fear of being deported, said Luis Garcia Villagran, a coordinator with the Human Dignity Center NGO that is accompanying the caravan.
A Mexican government official confirmed to AFP news agency that humanitarian visas were being issued, but Garcia said the process was slow.
“We’re going to the northern border! We’re going with permits, without permits, with buses, without buses, however they want,” said Garcia Villagran.
Huixtla has become a sort of bottleneck for undocumented migrants arriving from Central America, leaving the national immigration centre there overwhelmed.
The caravan of people fleeing poverty, violence and political oppression in their homelands set off on Monday in the same week that US President Joe Biden hosts the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, with migration one of the main agenda items.
On Tuesday, the United States announced a new commitment to provide $1.9bn of private funding to Central America with the aim of slowing the migration wave.
This most recent caravan is made up of about 11,000 people, including a group of 70 with disabilities, according to the human rights ombudsman’s office.
The United Nations says more than six million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years due to the economic and political crises there.
Migrant caravans that traversed Mexico in 2018 and 2019 sparked tensions with the administration of then-US president Donald Trump.
Since then, Mexico has stepped up its border controls and in 2021 more than 300,000 undocumented migrants and refugees were detained there.