Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group of activists escorting the migrant caravan of thousands of Central Americans traveling to the U.S., is being blamed by many — including the migrants themselves — for encouraging such a risky trek.
The group, which is comprised of about 40 U.S. and Mexican activists, gave the caravan an option in October. The migrants were asked whether they wanted to continue to the U.S. southern border or stop in Mexico, where the government offered to let them stay.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, warned the migrants the offer might be too good to be true and called on a voice vote — to which the crowd yelled to keep moving toward the U.S.
Since then, former allies and some migrants have said the group downplayed the risks involved, particularly for those with families and small children.
The organizers also were accused of misleading caravan migrants about how long they would have to wait on the Mexican side of the border to apply for asylum.
Irineo Mujica, a leader among the caravan organizers, rejected the criticism, telling The Associated Press that the group’s “commitment first and foremost was protecting the lives of migrants and giving them as much information as possible.”
“To blame the people who are helping is crazy,” he said.
Adelaida Gonzalez, a member of the migrant caravan who traveled with her son and neighbor from Guatemala City, said she wished she’d accepted Mexico’s offer to stay and work in the southern state of Chiapas.
“We were never told along the way that it would be this hard,” Gonzalez, 37, said after she saw the border wall topped with razor wire and the long waiting list for asylum seekers.