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Gambians among thousands of migrants in Mexico trying to reach US

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By Omar Bah

Gambian migrants are among thousands of migrants currently in Mexico trying to cross into the United States.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) documented 686 deaths and disappearances of migrants on the US-Mexico border in 2022, making it the deadliest land route for migrants worldwide on record.

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A few years ago, the migrants were almost entirely from Southern and Central America but now they’re from all over the world. According to reports, young men and women from The Gambia, China, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, Mauritania, Kazakhstan, and Haiti, are currently in Mexico trying to reach America.

Another major change seems to be the attitude of the Mexican authorities.

In the past, the passage of the migrants north, while not easy, wasn’t noticeably hindered by the Mexicans.

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The US has a problem with the numbers, so people travelling through Mexico are shifted from one location to another and left, and then shifted again – never really making any progress.

Legally, migrants and asylum seekers cannot be stopped, but they can be asked to follow rules (or have their paperwork torn up), and if the rules keep changing, there is nothing they can do about.

After crossing the Usumacinta River from Guatemala, the migrants rest in the city of Hidalgo, before forming into groups known as “caravans” to begin their journey north.

They travel together for safety from gangs and criminals who prey on the migrants. Most of the migrants are carrying tents, an absolute necessity for crossing the Darien Gap – a notorious jungle crossing on the migrant route, which lies between Colombia and Panama.

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