Lopez Obrador: Mexico guarantees protection for new migrant caravans

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at his regular morning press conference in Mexico City on Jan. 16, 2019. EFE-EPA/Sashenka Gutierrez

Mexico City, Jan 16 (efe-epa).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday guaranteed that the country will protect and respect the human rights of members of new migrant caravans that are departing from Central America heading for the United States through Mexican territory.

«If they enter into our territory, we have to guarantee them protection and human rights,» said the leftist leader at his morning press conference.

He added that the government has been monitoring the situation «from before they were formed» and he reiterated that the Mexican government’s plan is to «give options (to the migrants) in their places of origin.»

«This is what we feel is better, but when this cannot be done any more one must be respectful of the freedom of movement,» he emphasized.

Lopez Obrador wants the entry of the migrants into Mexico to be «orderly» and said he hoped that «the governments of Central America» will convince the migrants to «stay and work» and offer them «alternatives» to do so.

In mid-October 2018, thousands of Central Americans – mostly Hondurans and Salvadorans – set out from their countries on foot in several caravans with the aim of reaching the US to request asylum, an exodus that sparked diplomatic clashes among various nations.

In recent days, at least two new caravans have set out from Central America heading northwards – one comprised of about 1,000 Hondurans and another of about 100 Salvadorans.