A huge caravan of about 5,000 migrants has started moving north toward the U.S. on foot from Mexico’s southern border.
The enormous group started making its way north on Monday, according to organizers and officials, walking in a long line along the highway. Migrants in the caravan hail from Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Venezuela, one organizer said.
Police escorted the migrants at certain points, sometimes making sure they did not block the highway and sometimes preventing them from hitching rides.
They planned to spend the night in the town of Huehuetan, about 16 miles north of their starting point.
The migrants reported that they were tired of waiting for visas in the city of Tapachula near the Guatemalan border, where Mexico’s main migrant processing center is located, the Associated Press reported. Waits can stretch up to months as Mexico’s immigration system scrambles to process the droves of migrants waiting at its border.
A smaller migrant caravans in 2018 sparked many more headlines, but the current caravan is less shocking after thousands of migrants have flooded the southern U.S. border in recent months. The 2018 caravan had between 4,000 and 5,000 migrants.
Many of the Venezuelan migrants are fleeing an economic crisis in Venezuela.
Last month, Mexico’s president said that about ten thousand migrants are heading to the U.S. border on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the migrant crisis at the border has been ramping up in recent months, and U.S. border authorities have struggled to handle the huge influx of people crossing illegally.
In September, a record nearly 270,000 migrants crossed the southern border into the U.S., the highest monthly total ever, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Some border communities are so impacted by the problem that they have sent migrants up north.
The Democratic mayor of El Paso, Texas, said in September that the city has reached “a breaking point” and chartered five buses to take migrants to New York, Chicago, and Denver.
Up north, major cities are battling the migrant crisis as they attempt to shelter the thousands of people arriving weekly.
New York City is struggling to metabolize more than 130,000 migrants who have shown up in the city since last spring, nearly 60,000 of whom are still being housed on the city’s dime.
The city has already spent more than $1.2 billion on the migrants and is projected to spend up to $5 billion.
Chicago has been scrambling to respond to a migrant crisis before the cold winter months arrive. The country’s third-largest city has experienced an influx of about 20,000 migrants recently, many from Venezuela, and has already spent at least $250 million on the issue.