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Ahead of Biden's Summit of the Americas, Migrant caravan in Mexico heads for US border

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Tapachula, Jun 8: Thousands of migrants, who left southern Mexico on Monday, are heading to the US-Mexican border in a caravan with the hopes of reaching the US, which is ready to host the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, this week.

Migrants, many from Central American and Venezuela, walk along the Huehuetan highway in Chiapas state, Mexico

It is reported to be one of the region's largest migrant caravans in recent years. Witnesses have informed Reuters that at least 6,000 people from Tapachula set off from southern Mexico out of which many are from Venezuela and Central America. However, National Institute for Migration in Mexico did not offer any comment nor provided the estimated number of people heading towards the border.

Instability, violence and poverty are the reasons why people are fleeing their country. "These are countries collapsing from poverty and violence," Caravan organiser Luis Garcia Villagran is quoted as saying by Aljazeera. He said, "We strongly urge those who attend the summit ... to look at what is happening, and what could happen even more often in Mexico, if something is not done soon."

Ruben Medina, of Venezuela, told AP that he along with 12 other members of his family found themselves in southern Mexico because of his country's president, Nicolas Maduro. "[We have] been waiting about two months for the visa and still nothing, so better to start walking in this march," Medina told AP.

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce new plans to address mass migration from Latin America. However, the issue is complicated due to geopolitical tensions, BBC reported.

President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday announced that he would not attend the Summit of Americas following the US's decision to not invite Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan leaders to the meeting. "There can be no Americas Summit if all the countries of the American continent do not participate," Obrador is quoted as saying by The New York Times. "Or there can be, but we believe that means continuing with the politics of old, of interventionism, of a lack of respect for the nations and their people," he added.

On the other hand, US President Joe Biden has been under pressure to reverse Trump-era restrictions on immigration. Last month, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration's move to lift Title 42, a contentious policy that expelled over one million migrants at the southern border.

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