Oaxaca, Mexico – After a series of fiery tweets by US President Donald Trump and heightened media attention, the Mexican government has announced it will disperse the Refugee Caravan of more than a thousand individuals fleeing violence and other harsh conditions in Central America, prompting many to vow to continue north.
“They cannot continue traveling illegally,” said JO Rodriguez, the federal representative in Oaxaca of Mexico’s National Migration Institute.
“You cannot negotiate with the law,” Rodriguez told Al Jazeera.
The government said it would issue one-year humanitarian visas to the most vulnerable, allow others to submit applications within the month to stay in Mexico, and request that the rest exit the country within 20 days.
Many of those travelling with the caravan said they will continue with the aim of reaching the US, while others have said they will remain in other parts of Mexico.
Kevin, 16, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, said that a local gang, Barrio 18, had tried to forcibly recruit him, and that they had threatened to harm his entire family if he did not become a member. He plans to request asylum in the United States.
“Young people who have experienced the same thing have been killed,” he told Al Jazeera.
“The president thinks we’re all delinquents,” he added. “But we’re going to continue with the caravan as far as it goes.”
‘Immigration decisions made in sovereign manner’
The decision by the Mexican government came after Trump sent out a series of tweets on Sunday and Monday, saying Congress should “use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People”.
He lamented what