Military police in southern Mexico stopped and forced back a caravan of several hundred migrants — mostly from Haiti and African countries — who were attempting to reach the U.S. by foot over the weekend.
The migrants, who also included people from the Caribbean and Central America, were more than 1,000 miles from the closest U.S. crossing when they were halted.
Authorities returned them to the southern city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border. Many have been held there by Mexican migration officials for months with two primary options: Stay in southern Mexico or leave through the southern border — just don't go north.
"This is a violation of their rights," said Sister Magdalena Silva, who oversees a network of migrant shelters, including one in Tapachula. "They have a right to migrate."
Mexico has already received more than twice as many asylum applications than in all of last year. The country has received 54,377 applications is year, Human Rights Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas said in a news conference in Mexico City on Monday morning. The country received about 27,000 applications in 2018.