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Hours after mass escape, migrants chant for food, freedom

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TAPACHULA, Mexico — Hours after a mass escape from an immigration detention center in southern Mexico, throngs of detained migrants raised their fists in the air Friday and chanted “We want food! We want out!”

It was the largest mass escape from a Mexican immigration center in memory and the latest example of how the government has become overloaded by a flood of Central American, Cuban and Haitian immigrants.

Residents of Tapachula, a city on Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, reported seeing hundreds of migrants running through the streets late Thursday, some only half dressed, some cramming themselves into passing minivans to escape.

Unarmed immigration agents were simply unable to stop the migrants from fleeing, federal authorities said.

Those with family members inside the Siglo XXI detention center said the escape sprung from a dispute over food and sleeping space, both of which were in short supply in the overcrowded center. Authorities say at least 1,300 migrants…

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