Mexican authorities intercept more than 1,000 migrants in one day

Migrants take part in a caravan toward Mexico's capital, in Escuintla
Migrants and asylum seekers from Central America and the Caribbean walk in a caravan headed to the Mexican capital to apply for asylum and refugee status, on a highway in Escuintla, in Chiapas state, Mexico August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Jacob Garcia

MEXICO CITY, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Mexican authorities on Thursday said they intercepted more than 1,000 migrants in the last 24 hours as the government tried to curb entry of undocumented travelers seeking to make their way to the United States.

The National Migration Institute (INM) said the migrants were located in operations carried out in 22 states of the country, with about 10% of them minors and many of them traveling alone.

In the last 24 hours, the National Migration Institute took into custody 1,266 migrants "from different continents that were transiting irregularly," the INM said in a statement.

Some migrants arrived from countries such as Afghanistan, Armenia, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Italy, Pakistan, Somalia, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.

The United States is putting pressure on Mexican and Central American nations to curb the flow of U.S.-bound migrants. Some Latin American countries have been imposing visa requirements on travelers from other countries. read more

The INM said it had identified 741 men and 322 women, as well as 203 minors coming mostly from Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Mexican authorities identified 33 nationalities among the migrants intercepted.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said the number of nationalities of migrants crossing Mexico increased in January, and urged authorities to offer various schemes for their regularization in the country, in addition to asylum. read more

In recent years, the number of migrants fleeing violence, poverty and other problems in their home countries has skyrocketed, and many must wait up to a year in southern Mexico for permission from authorities to cross the nation without being detained before reaching the United States.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Adriana Barrera and David Gregorio

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