What may become the largest caravan ever to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border is moving through southern Mexico.
The caravan, which moved out of the Mexican city of Tapachula on the Guatemala border on Monday, contains roughly 11,000 migrants, according to The Guardian. The caravan is expected to gain thousands more migrants as it travels north and grow to up to 15,000 people, according to estimates.
The caravan is mostly made up of migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, though a number of other countries are represented, according to Fox News. Some of the migrants are calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to lift Title 42 restrictions ahead of their arrival at the border.
“He promised the Haitian community he will help them,” one Haitian migrant interviewed by Fox News last week said. “He will recall Title 42. He will help us have real asylum.”
“Now we need him to keep his promise,” the migrant said.
Title 42 is a Trump-era health policy that authorizes Border Patrol agents to turn away migrants at the border without processing. The policy was adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the United States from migrants. The Biden administration’s attempt to scrap the policy has been tied up in legal challenges and blocked by a court order.
The coming caravan, if it arrives before Title 42 is lifted, will join tens of thousands of migrants camped in Mexico along the U.S. border waiting for the policy to lapse. As many as 50,000 migrants are waiting in shelters and camps waiting for an opportunity to cross into the United States and apply for asylum, according to Axios.
The estimate is roughly double the number of migrants believed to be camping out in March. According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data, roughly 8,000 migrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border ever day. The DHS has estimated that ending Title 42 could result in an even greater flood of migrants, up to 18,000 a day, after Title 42 is repealed.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly claimed that the United States is prepared for the surge. Immigration levels are already at historic highs, however, and it is unclear when the swell in asylum-seeking migrants might begin to abate.
Overcrowding has been a widespread problem at federally-controlled migrant holding facilities, and the release of migrants into the interior of the United States has sparked outcry against the Biden administration from state leaders. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) began bussing migrants to Washington, D.C., earlier this year in protest of Biden’s handling of the immigration crisis.