On Friday, John reported on the return of an unwelcome fall ritual. That would be the start of the migrant caravan season when illegal aliens gather together in huge groups to attempt the trek from Guatemala and Honduras up through Mexico to either try to cross the United States border illegally or present themselves for asylum. (Frequently both if they get caught trying to jump the border.) In this case, roughly 1,000 migrants, primarily from Honduras, formed up and headed through Guatemala toward Mexico’s southern border heading north. By yesterday, their numbers were estimated to have swollen to 2,000. But in a surprising turn of events, the governments of both Guatemala and Mexico stepped up their games and shut the caravan down almost entirely. As of this morning, the vast majority of them were on buses heading back to Honduras. (Associated Press)
About 1,000 Honduran migrants headed for the United States became increasingly desperate Friday in the face of a police and army roadblock in northern Guatemala that was preventing them from continuing toward the United States.
Seldom since 2018 have the prospects for a migrant caravan been so discouraging. Guatemala’s president sees them as a contagion risk amid the coronavirus pandemic and has vowed to deport them. Mexico’s president thinks the caravan is a plot to influence the U.S. elections. And newly formed Tropical Storm Gamma threatens to dump torrential rain on their planned route through southern Mexico.
Fears of a confrontation grew as over 100 Guatemalan soldiers and police blocked the migrants, who became increasingly frustrated with the lack of food and forward movement after walking hundreds of kilometers from Honduras earlier this week.
Fears that the Guatemalan soldiers might actually open fire on the migrants never materialized, though the rumor made for some hot headlines in the local press. Instead, when some self-appointed leaders of the caravan demanded that the soldiers either let them pass or give them some food, they were informed that they had entered the country illegally and would be deported back to their nation of origin. Some small groups reportedly made it past the roadblock, but their future prospects didn’t look much better.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador echoed the Guatemalan government’s concerns over the caravan potentially spreading the novel coronavirus, but he also speculated about political motives for the caravan’s formation. He believes that it was formed with the intent to influence the American elections next month. While not saying who he thought such a maneuver might benefit, he said that Mexico is “not naive” and could see the writing on the wall.
That’s not a particularly crazy idea. Having a couple of thousand migrants show up at the border carrying children (either their own or ones they are trafficking) would likely give the American liberal media some great photo opportunities. They would probably have arrived right near the end of the month and the press would obviously take the opportunity to talk about Donald Trump’s “cruel anti-immigrant policies” right before people head to the polls.
The Associated Press interviewed several of the migrants and the stories they tell are very much in line with the point that John was making on Friday. None of the people quoted in the linked article talked about political oppression at home or open warfare. They all said they were looking for work, making them economic migrants. And that’s not a category that typically qualifies for asylum, though most of them no doubt planned to put in a claim once they reached our borders.
While I don’t want to sound too harsh here, we already have more than enough people out of work in the United States thanks to the plague, so we really don’t need the competition for jobs. Also, the President’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is still in effect and being supported by the Mexican government, so most of those people would have been sent back across the border anyway. (Assuming they didn’t find a coyote to smuggle them across.) A few small groups were still on the road heading north as of last night, but nowhere near the thousands that might have been on the way had the President’s new policies not gone into effect. In that regard, we may have just dodged yet another bullet that we didn’t need to deal with along with all of the other garbage going on.
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