A new migrant caravan has set off from Honduras bound for the United States' southern border, according to recent reports in the BBC and local media.
As the president and Congressional Democrats square off on border security, more asylum seekers are beginning the long trek through Guatemala and Mexico to declare their intent to enter the U.S. at a handful of border crossings in California and Texas. The new caravan numbers near a thousand, though reports indicate they are leaving in shifts of 300-500.
"The group had a mix of people that included some mothers carrying their young children on their shoulders," according to Fox News. "It's unclear where the group will rest, but past migrants have used the Honduran city of Quimistan, which is 35 miles from the bus stop, as an early checkpoint."
From there, the group will cross into Guatemala and then on into Mexico.
The new caravan may be a surprise to Democrats who believe border security is under control, but it comes as no shock to President Donald Trump or the Mexican government.
Just last week, Trump mentioned the new caravan to The New York Times, noting that the United States is trying to "break up" the planned march before it makes its way to the southern border. In the interview, the president indicated that he believes a border wall is essential to discouraging this and future caravans from queuing up at border crossings.
A "drone isn't going to stop it and a sensor isn’t going to stop it, but you know what’s going to stop it in its tracks? A nice, powerful wall," Trump told media.
The Mexican government, eager to forge a good relationship with the Trump administration, is also taking proactive steps to prevent the new migrant caravan from reaching the U.S..
According to reports from earlier this month, Mexico has all but sealed its border with Guatemala, ensuring that they curtail illegal immigration before it becomes a problem for the United States. Mexico's interior ministry also ordered dozens of federal agents to staff official border crossings along that country's southern border to catch border jumpers.
Mexico is also motivated by a backup at official crossings along the U.S. border. Thousands of migrants still remain in cities like Tijuana while they wait to make their official plea for asylum to United States Customs and Border Protection.
The Globe and Mail reports that many members of the original migrant caravans are still waiting to be assessed and are now considering accepting Mexico's offer of temporary citizenship. Others have attempted to cross into the U.S. illegally or have returned to their home country.
"Mexican officials estimate that almost 3,400 members of the caravans that arrived from Honduras in early November remain in Tijuana. Another 1,200 have crossed the border and have been detained, while 1,200 more have returned or have been deported back to their home countries," the Globe and Mail claims.
The White House seems eager to finally close a deal on the border wall, and, according to rumors, is willing to trade support for other, more liberal immigration policies — like a firm commitment to continuing the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) Act — for $5 billion in funding for the border wall. In recent days, though, Democrats appear to have grown less serious about ending the now three-week-long government shutdown, appearing on junkets in Puerto Rico and refusing to attend White House meetings on the topic.