Wading through rivers, walking, and taking buses, thousands of Central American migrants are heading towards the United States, in an attempt to flee violence and poverty.
As per the latest update, the caravan has swelled to about 7,200 migrants. The cross-continent effort to reach the U.S. has also impinged the political debate ahead of the United States midterm elections.
How big is the caravan and who is in it?
The caravan originated from northern Honduras last week and has been continuously growing. Reportedly the migrants are escaping from poverty and violence in the hope to find a job in the U.S. and support their family back at home.
Over 2,000 immigrants made their way into Mexico by crossing the bridge from Guatemala in the Mexican town of Tapachula while the others strived to cross the Suchiate River.
As the immigrants entered Mexico, authorities put women, children, and the elderly on buses to escort them to refugee camps. Authorities said that over 1,000 people have demanded asylum from Mexico.
The Mexican government on its part has entreated aid from the UN’s refugee agency to approve the asylum requests. Until now police haven’t stopped the caravan out-and-out.
What is Mexico’s take on this?
In a bid to intercept the latest caravan as it moved forward from Guatemala, the Mexican government has ramped up the number of immigration and police officials to supervise the southern border.
The country has delineated a plan to deal with the thousands of Central American migrants proceeding through the country.
Mexico said it would process refuge requests to “ensure the safety and integrity of migrants, especially for the women, children and the elderly.”
Any person who has the valid visa and the travel documents from the Mexican government will be permitted to enter Mexico and “move freely” till the visa expires. As indicated by several media outlets, only a few people actually have valid documents.
People entering Mexico “in an irregular manner” will be deported.
American Approach to the Issue
As the caravan continues to head north, the U.S. President Donald Trump has asked on the migrants’ home countries and Mexico to intercede.
On Monday, the president threatened on Twitter “to substantially reduce, or cut off” support to Central American countries as the El Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan governments have miserably failed to prevent the caravan from leaving their homeland.
Trump further tweeted that he has “alerted Military and Border Patrol” regarding the caravan heading to the U.S. southern border.
Earlier Trump had warned to close off the U.S.-Mexico border in case the Mexican officials weren’t able to sojourn the caravan.
Last week Trump tweeted, “I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
However, the U.S. has no authority to turn away immigrants who are seeking asylum at the border as per the international and country’s own law.
Luis Videgaray Caso, Mexican Foreign Secretary lately met with Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State regarding caravans, stating that “of course, in Mexico we have the rule of law, and we shall apply — enforce the law, but there will also be a humanitarian way that we will think about the migrant in the first place.”
As midterm elections, inches closer, Trump’s message at the campaign and on Twitter is that Democrats are obstructing immigration laws that would address the issue.
Trump tweeted, “Every time you see a Caravan or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally.”