MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government took steps on Saturday to discourage the formation of caravans of Venezuelan migrants, saying anyone who does will be ineligible to enter the United States under a new humanitarian plan announced this week.
Under a plan announced Wednesday, Washington said it would grant humanitarian access to the United States by air to up to 24,000 Venezuelans, while allowing US officials to expel to Mexico those caught trying to cross illegally by land.
The plan is the latest attempt to curb a record number of illegal border crossings between Mexico and the United States, fueled in part by a surge in the number of Venezuelans entering Mexico to try to reach the United States.
On Friday morning, a caravan of several hundred migrants, mostly Venezuelans, formed in southern Mexico, and although it later dispersed, hundreds more left on Friday night in smaller groups also bound for the border with Mexico. USA.
The Mexican government’s National Migration Institute said it would be in constant communication with US border authorities and warned Venezuelans planning to take advantage of the scheme to enter the United States not to form caravans.
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“That is why it is important to point out that marching in a caravan or traveling irregularly in Mexican territory cancels the process,” the institute said in a statement.
To qualify for the US program, Venezuelans will need to be able to secure a sponsor in the United States in advance. The Mexican government had already instructed Venezuelans not to go to the US border before submitting their applications.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by José Torres in Tapachula; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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