PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico – The Mexican city of Piedras Negras, which borders on the United States, announced on Thursday that it will relocate a group of 120 Central American migrants after altercations that left four people injured in recent days.
The migrants will be transported in four buses before Feb. 22 to Monterrey, Hermosillo, Reynosa, Saltillo and Acuña, where they have been promised formal work, the authorities of the northern city in Coahuila state said.
Of the group of 1,672 Central American migrants who arrived in Piedras Negras on Feb. 4, 1,400 still remain in the city, the others having been repatriated, relocated in shelters in other cities or having acquired jobs, authorities said.
At least 40 managed to legally enter the United States, they added.
The decision to relocate the 120 migrants was made after the migrants staged a protest at the shelters where they had been housed and confronted local authorities with shouts of “We’re hungry! You have got us locked up!”
During the protest, four migrants were injured when they attempted to cross the police cordon around the shelter, apparently by agents for the Fuerza Coahuila corporation and Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM).
The night before, some of the migrants had complained that they had been robbed by INM personnel who had accompanied them to a bank and although authorities denied the accusation the country’s National Human Rights Commission opened an investigation.
Coahuila Security Secretary Jose Luis Pliego attributed the protest to the leaders of the caravan that set out from Central America intending to reach the US, who he said inflamed the migrants.
“Any violation of the national laws or those of Coahuila will have consequences,” he said regarding the possible punishment for those who launched the confrontation.
Meanwhile, in Eagle Pass, Texas, across the border from Piedras Negras, the US Defense Department has not lowered its guard and at least 2,000 troops and immigration personnel have been deployed to prevent migrants from illegally entering the US.
The migrants arrived in Piedras Negras in early February after first entering southern Mexico last October with Central American migrant caravans after Mexico provided one-year visitors cards to them for humanitarian reasons.
The caravan phenomenon began in mid-October when thousands of mainly Honduran and Salvadoran migrants began traveling in a group for security reasons, sparking diplomatic disagreements among several countries.