On Monday, a substantial migrant caravan began its journey from southern Mexico towards the United States, comprising around 5,000 individuals, as reported by caravan organizers. Mexican authorities, however, estimated the number of migrants to be approximately 3,500. This caravan primarily consists of people hailing from Central America and Venezuela, with a majority originating from Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. They are embarking on this arduous journey on foot from Tapachula, located in southern Mexico near the Guatemalan border.
The decision to depart Tapachula was fueled by the frustration of migrants who were unable to obtain humanitarian visas. Some migrants had also been offered assistance to rebuild their lives in the Mexican port of Acapulco, which was recently ravaged by a hurricane. Mexican authorities’ response to the situation has been notably sluggish, with no comments from the government’s National Migration Institute.
As the caravan progresses, civil protection officials and ambulances accompany them along the coastal highway. Their initial planned stop is in the municipality of Huehuetan, about 16 miles north of their starting point. The driving forces behind this migration are primarily poverty and political instability. While these are not grounds for asylum in the United States, the migrants will still be allowed to file their asylum claims and remain in the U.S., awaiting court dates, reflecting the current policies in the United States under President Biden.
This march of migrants towards the U.S.-Mexico border marks one of the largest such caravans since June 2022. Despite the attention-drawing migrant caravans in 2018 and 2019, it has become increasingly common for thousands of migrants to arrive at the U.S. border daily. Unfortunately, the widespread migration of illegal immigrants to the United States is becoming normalized, with its shock factor diminishing. Reports on such occurrences now seem like just another day in the context of the current administration.
Migrant caravans often comprise vulnerable groups like women and children, and their presence can slow down the progress of the caravan. In this case, the group, having covered approximately nine miles, decided to spend the night in the town of Alvaro Obregon. Their plan is to cover more ground in the coming days while taking into account the needs of women and children among them.
As the migrant caravan proceeds, a potential complicating factor emerges with the formation of tropical storm Pilar off Central America in the Pacific. This storm threatens to bring heavy rains to the region, which could further impact the journey.
In a Senate hearing, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas revealed that over 600,000 known individuals had evaded border control in FY 2023, which marks the first acknowledgment of such a high number of “gotaways.” Senator Marshall pointed out the lack of information regarding how many of these individuals might be on the terror watch list, highlighting concerns about national security and the ongoing border crisis. Despite the mounting challenges, the situation at the border persists as a humanitarian and national security crisis, raising questions about the administration’s approach to this complex issue.