While a group of more than 3,000 migrants, mainly from Central America, continue their march from southern Mexico toward the U.S. border, former President Donald Trump issued a terse statement critical of the lack of any response from the Biden Administration.
“The largest caravan in history is coming towards us, and we are totally unprepared and doing nothing about it. Complete the wall and get tough. Our Country is being systematically destroyed before our very eyes!” Trump said in a statement.
On the first day of their march, migrants forcefully pushed through a line of state police who formed a blockade to stop the marchers. Police were wielding shields and wearing protective gear.
During the push, a small child suffered a minor head wound and there were small scuffles, but the migrants continued on their way.
Migrants have been walking in the early morning, mainly before daybreak to avoid the midday heat. In contrast to previous marches, migrants were not primarily comprised of Haitians but were mainly from El Salvador and Honduras. Small children also accompanied many of the migrants.
Unlike the caravans that traveled to the border in 2019, the current procession will take longer to reach the southern Texas border. The Mexican government has banned truckers from allowing migrants to hitch a ride.
The migrants will have to walk the 2,500 miles to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Record-breaking migrant encounters
Customs and Border Protection recently announced that there had been more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in the fiscal year 2021. This number shatters all past numbers seen at the border.
In addition, there were more than 192,000 encounters in September alone. The steadily high numbers reinforce fears that more surges could be on the way, like the Haitian migrant surge into Del Rio, Texas.
Tens of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras have been waiting in the southern Mexico city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, for asylum or refugee papers that may allow them to travel.
However, many migrants have become weary of waiting and formed the migrant march using cellphones to organize.
Immigration agents, police, and National Guard have broken up similar but smaller attempts earlier in the year.
In August, National Guard troops clad in riot gear blocked several hundred Cubans, Central Americans, and Haitians who set out walking on a highway from Tapachula.
Mexico requires that migrants apply for asylum or humanitarian visas and must remain in the border state of Chiapas, near Guatemala, while their cases are being processed. In January, a large caravan of migrants tried to flee Honduras but was blocked from entering Guatemala.
The Biden administration has maintained that root causes, including corruption, violence, and poverty in Central America, are spurring the mass influx of migrants at the border.
Republicans disagree and have pointed to the hasty rollback of Trump administration border policies by the Biden administration, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy that required migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico as they await hearings on their requests.
Biden’s administration has vowed to terminate the Remain in Mexico policy after a federal court in Texas ruled that a previous memorandum issued by the administration ending the policy was illegal. The Department of Homeland Security said it would reinstate the policy by mid-November in response to the federal court order, which the Supreme Court upheld.