Yet another caravan of “some 1,200 migrants” has formed near the Mexico-Guatemala border and is snaking its way across Mexico to the United States-Mexico border, Reuters reports.
This time, to avoid recent efforts by the Mexican government to crack down on migrant caravans entering into Mexico by way of Guatemala, the group first crossed into Mexico as individuals and then formed into a caravan in the Mexican border town of Tapachula.
The migrants are “from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba,” according to reports along the border.
The development is likely to do little to ease tensions over the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, or between the United States and Mexico. The latter pledged several months ago to do all it could to intercept migrant caravans before they made it too far through the country, offering migrants headed to the United States temporary asylum within Mexico and accelerated access to work permits and the Mexican immigration system.
The strategies haven’t worked, though, and migrant caravans continue to push through Mexico to the United States, worsening a growing problem on the border, and crowding Mexican border towns with illegal immigrants in line to declare asylum at Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico border checkpoints.
News of this latest caravan comes the same day as the Department of Homeland Security reports a new surge in illegal immigrant arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border — an astounding peak of more than 20,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions in the month of March so far.
Axios reports that the influx has been “driven by an influx of migrant families and unaccompanied children” (rather than mostly single, adult men looking for work, as it was a decade ago), mostly from Central America, and that, according to DHS officials, illegal alien interdiction has become so difficult, it’s almost as if there is no interdiction at all.
“At the moment, we have the closest thing to an open border that we’ve had,” one official told the national security newsmagazine.
Last week, DHS reported that it expects to release more than 100,000 illegal immigrant asylum seekers into the United States pending their adjudication by an asylum court simply because the facilities in El Paso, Texas, and other major border crossings have become too crowded and the crush of individuals is putting both a strain on United States Customs and Border Patrol and the immigrant detainees themselves. In close quarters, diseases spread fast, and in the last month, several Texas CBP outposts have seen outbreaks of communicable illnesses like the mumps.
The Daily Caller reports that “[t]he vast number of migrants are also submitting so many asylum requests that border checkpoints have buckled under the weight. Officials with the El Paso Border Patrol sector revealed that they temporarily closed their highway checkpoints due to the record amount of asylum requests.”
In some cases, the Trump Administration is even enforcing a “hold in Mexico” policy, demanding that asylum seekers remain on the other side of the border until they can be processed.