Plan to cross border by seeking asylum, crossing illegally, or under ongoing “catch and release” policy
In an attempt to overwhelm U. S. Customs and Border Protection, over a thousand Central Americans are marching through Mexico toward the U. S. border. The goal is to cross our border by seeking asylum, crossing illegally, or by exploiting the ongoing “catch and release” policy.
A Buzzfeed reporter is traveling with the group.
My first dispatch while on the trail with hundreds of Central Americans who have boldly crossed immigration check points, military bases, & police in a desperate, sometimes chaotic march toward the US https://t.co/cf2rnzbp3n
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 30, 2018
For five days now hundreds of Central Americans — children, women, and men, most of them from Honduras — have boldly crossed immigration checkpoints, military bases, and police in a desperate, sometimes chaotic march toward the United States. Despite their being in Mexico without authorization, no one has made any effort to stop them.
Organized by a group of volunteers called Pueblos Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, the caravan is intended to help migrants safely reach the United States, bypassing not only authorities who would seek to deport them, but gangs and cartels who are known to assault vulnerable migrants.
Organizers like Rodrigo Abeja hope that the sheer size of the crowd will give immigration authorities and criminals pause before trying to stop them.
. . . . When they get to the US, they hope American authorities will grant them asylum or, for some, be absent when they attempt to cross the border illegally. More likely is that it will set up an enormous challenge to the Trump administration’s immigration policies and its ability to deal with an organized group of migrants numbering in the hundreds.
The number of people who showed up to travel with the caravan caught organizers by surprise, and has overwhelmed the various towns they’ve stopped in to spend the night. Pueblos Sin Fronteras counted about 1,200 people on the first day.
Numbers USA estimates the “caravan” consists of “about 1,350 Central Americans.”
Pueblos Sin Fronteras organized a caravan of about 1,350 Central Americans traveling from the City of Tapachula on the Mexico-Guatemala border to the U.S. They plan to either apply for asylum or slip away from the group to cross illegally once they arrive. https://t.co/zeUu6EIEgy
— NumbersUSA (@NumbersUSA) March 30, 2018
Buzzfeed explains that “Organizers estimate that about two-thirds of people are planing [sic] on crossing into the United States undetected or asking for some type of protection like asylum” [emphasis added].
“Undetected” means, of course, illegally.
Here is a short clip of a portion of the march on our southern border:
[Video via organizers’ Facebook page]
Typically, I’m not a fan of calling illegal immigration an “invasion,” but it’s hard to think of this onslaught as anything less than an invasion. Over at Hot Air, Jazz is calling the “caravan of migrants” an “army of illegal aliens.”
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, Mexican immigration authorities are doing nothing to stop the group as it marches through Mexico toward our border.
Five days ago, the caravan set out from Tapachula and began its trek northward. The group chanted “We are migrants. We are not criminals. We are workers.” (About 80 percent of the group members are Hondurans.)
As they’ve continued to make their way to the U.S., Mexican immigration authorities have allowed the migrants to move with relative ease. On Monday Pueblo Sin Fronteras posted a video with the caption, “The Refugee Caravan knocking down borders yesterday in Huehuetan! Immigration agents abandoned the post when they saw us coming. The people celebrate this first small victory!”
Along the way, the caravan has also received support and supplies from local communities. Reports indicate that the group, up to this point, has chosen to not climb on top of “La Bestia”, a train used by illegal migrants to expedite their trek to the U.S. However, it hopes to utilize the train later in the trek. (BuzzFeed reports that members of the caravan have practiced by climbing the ladders of parked train cars.)
The municipality we’re at now is offering buses to get us to the next town. It’s been happening at several stops, I imagine they’re more interested in getting people out of their public squares. pic.twitter.com/6ay7Rn8fzI
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 30, 2018
Border Patrol union leader Brandon Judd tells Fox News that those planning to cross the border illegally are counting on the ongoing “catch and release” policy.
“First off, you have got a Mexican government entity that is assisting these individuals that are coming up to the United States,” Judd told “Fox & Friends.” “These individuals do not have passports or legal documents to be in Mexico, yet you got an agency that’s helping them get to our [U.S.] border.”
Judd said border patrol agents do not have the ability to stop the migrants at the border even if they only step one foot on U.S. soil.
“Once they [the migrants] enter the country, even if we [border patrol agents] are standing at the border with our hands out saying, ‘Don’t enter, don’t enter,’ all they have to do is cross one foot into the border and we have to take them into custody,” Judd said. “If they ask for asylum or say I fear to go back to my country, then we have to process them under ‘credible fear’ which allows them to be released into our country.”
When these people reach our southern border it will be vital that they not be permitted to enter our country. If they are, such caravans will become the norm.
Once the caravan arrives at the U.S. border, it will be critical for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to lean on the new directives provided by the Trump administration. It will be an opportunity to reiterate the message that the United States is serious about border enforcement. Otherwise, the message sent to prospective migrants would be that such caravans are a promising option for gaining access to the United States.
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