The so-called "migrant caravan" is moving again after making an extended stop in Mexico City, but now Congressional officials say the group's final destination is actually San Diego, California, and not Texas as originally planned.
As thousands of active-duty members of the United States military fan out across the southern border to help the United States Customs and Border Patrol with administration and infrastructure, thousands of immigrants, mostly from Honduras and Guatemala, have begun the second leg of their journey toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Local Mexican officials were once again Sunday helping thousands of Central American migrants find rides on the next leg of their journey toward the U.S. border," the Chicago Tribune reports.
The caravan has grown in recent days, the Tribune continues, likely because splinter groups had time to catch up with the main body of the caravan as it rested for nearly a week in Mexico City. Right now, authorities say around 6,531 people make up the caravan, and 5,771 of those people have already left Mexico City and sheltered Sunday night in a soccer stadium in Queretaro.
Mexico City did its best to keep the migrant caravan moving after of the immigrants refused the Mexican government's offer of temporary asylum and short-term work permits. "Dedicated metro trains moved migrants across the capital before dawn and at a toll plaza north of the city they formed orderly lines to wait for their turn to climb aboard passing 18-wheelers that were willing to help them cover the 124 miles to Queretaro," according to the Tribune.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) told The Hill Monday in a statement that his office believes the migrants are now headed to California, after several "LGBT migrants" appeared this weekend near San Diego, claiming they'd been discriminated against and ousted by the main caravan and had to find their own way to the U.S. border.
"The caravan with over 6,000 migrants has departed Mexico City en route to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. This caravan will likely follow the Viacrucis caravan that made its way to the California border in April 2018," Cuellar's statement read.
"It is expected that it will take approximately two weeks before a significant portion of the caravan will reach the U.S. border near San Diego, California. There are another 4,000 migrants headed north in three additional caravans, according to the International Organization for Migration," he added.
The "LGBT migrants" — a group of around 77 — told officials in San Diego that they'd been verbally abused while traveling with the main caravan and that they'd often been denied clean water and provisions because of their sexual orientations. When the situation became dire, the group contacted an unknown non-profit, which provided them with chartered buses to an official border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
The "migrant caravan" has disappeared from most major news coverage following the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections, but the situation has not escaped the Trump White House's notice. The administration moved Friday to curb asylum requests filed at non-official border crossings and to prevent any illegal immigrants from declaring asylum to officers of the Border Patrol.
Once this migrant caravan reaches the U.S. (likely some time in the next two weeks), officials will begin watching other, slightly smaller caravans, now moving through Guatemala and southern Mexico.