IOM Monitors New Caravans of Central American Migrants in Mexico

Integrated Border Management

Chiapas – A survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) between 25-30 January near the border crossing flanked by Tecún Umán (Guatemala) and Suchiate (Mexico) revealed that just over half (51.6%) of approximately 5,000 Central American migrants waiting at that border crossing to receive the humanitarian card of the Mexican government, only left their country as part of the ‘migrant caravans’.

Between January 14 and 16, migrants from Honduras and El Salvador left their homes with the hope of reaching Mexico and the United States of America, in the first ‘migrant caravans’ of 2019.

In response to the situation, the government of Mexico established a migration policy for entry into that country using a card for humanitarian reasons. The survey was applied mostly to people who were waiting for the delivery of this immigration document.

The survey indicates that the main reasons for migration are the search for labour opportunities (68%), education (11.8%) and better living conditions (10%). Additionally, 68.3 per cent of people indicate that in the last 12 months they had to change their residence in their country of origin due to some incident related to violence or insecurity.

The migrants said they needed water, food, clothing, health and accommodation to allow them to continue their journey in decent conditions. The regularization of their immigration status, obtaining a humanitarian visa and access to the refuge or asylum application in Mexico was the last identified need to enable them to continue to their destinations.

Of the people surveyed, 67 per cent said they did not know the procedures and protection requirements in Mexico and 65.3 per cent did not receive information about their rights as migrants. The main nationalities reported are Honduran (72.2%), Guatemalan (12.2%) and Salvadoran (11.7%).

The survey was applied to more than 800 people of this latest migratory flow, using IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology.

"The DTM allows us to know the immediate needs, characteristics and migratory tendencies presented by the people who are part of these migratory movements," said Alexandra Bonnie, Regional Coordinator of the Mesoamerica Program of IOM. "We hope that the findings will be used as a tool to improve the institutional and governmental response in terms of assistance and migration governance," she added.

The DTM survey is carried out within the framework of the Regional Program on Mesoamerican–Caribbean Migration, with the support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the US Department of State.

Other IOM actions in Chiapas include the provision of food supplies to migrants, in collaboration with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE, by its Spanish acronym) and the National Disaster and Emergency Assistance Committee (CADENA). Also, informational materials, monitoring, and accompaniment have been distributed through the Informative Windows network and MigApp with the National Institute of Migration (INM).

The full report is available for download here.

For more information, contact Tatiana Chacón at IOM San Jose, Tel: +506 2212 5304, E-mail:

  • Between 25-30 January, over 800 migrants were surveyed while waiting for their humanitarian visit cards to be processed by Mexican authorities. Photo: IOM 

  • Between 25-30 January, over 800 migrants were surveyed while waiting for their humanitarian visit cards to be processed by Mexican authorities. Photo: IOM