Mexico City prepares for thousands of migrants

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Latest on the caravans of Central American migrants making their way through Mexico (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

Officials in Mexico City say hundreds of migrants have arrived in the capital from the caravan that set out from Central America more than three weeks ago.

Nashieli Ramirez, ombudsman for the city’s human rights commission, said more than 500 migrants arrived Sunday at the Jesus Martinez stadium on the eastern side of the city, where they were served hot meals and supplied with blankets to spend the night.

City officials are preparing to soon receive as many as 5,000 migrants at the stadium, which has capacity to seat 6,000. Ramirez said the migrants may stay as long as necessary.

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7:10 a.m.

A large group of Central American migrants has resumed its trek toward Mexico City, planning to join several hundreds who have already arrived in the Mexican capital in hopes of finding some way to reach the U.S. border.

It’s an ambitious jump from the city of Cordoba, where many spent the night. The capital is nearly 180 miles (300 kilometers) ahead — a long distance for people alternately hitchhiking and walking.

The day didn’t start easily; migrants briefly blocked traffic on the busy highway to beseech passing truckers for a ride. None agreed.

Among the group is 42-year-old Yuri Juarez, who says he closed his Internet cafe in Villanueva, Guatemala, after gang members extorted him, robbed his customers and then stole his computers.

He say she knows there’s a “very low” chance of asylum in the U.S. But he says he’s got no way to work anymore back home.

Mexico’s Interior Ministry estimated over the weekend that there are more than 5,000 migrants in total currently moving through southern Mexico via the caravans or in smaller groups. The ministry said 2,793 migrants have applied for refugee status in Mexico in recent weeks and around 500 have asked for help to return to their home countries.

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