The Slatest

Migrant Caravan Grows as it Continues Push Toward the United States

A migrant caravan, which has grown into the thousands, walks into the interior of Mexico after crossing the Guatemalan border on October 21, 2018 near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.
A migrant caravan, which has grown into the thousands, walks into the interior of Mexico after crossing the Guatemalan border on October 21, 2018 near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.
John Moore/Getty Images

Mexican efforts to stop the caravan of migrants from Central America at the border with Guatemala failed and their number keeps growing. As of Sunday, the numbers of migrants taking part in the caravan had swelled to anywhere from 5,000 people, according to the Associated Press to 7,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. Most of those taking part in the caravan that has turned into a rallying cry for President Donald Trump ahead of the midterm elections are from Honduras.

The size of the caravan “was a startling development,” notes BuzzFeed, pointing out that it didn’t seem to have more than 4,000 people last week. The Associated Press also notes it wasn’t quite clear “where the additional travelers came from” but it did point out that “people have been joining and leaving the caravan daily, some moving at their own pace and strung out in a series of columns.”

Trump’s threat of closing the border on the caravan is not deterring the migrants, most of whom say they are escaping economic and humanitarian hardship in their home countries. An effort by the Mexican police Friday to prevent the migrants from crossing the border failed spectacularly and while Mexican authorities are keeping close watch on the thousands of migrants they are not preventing them from making their way north.

As of Sunday it seemed only a small fraction of the migrants were planning to apply for asylum in Mexico with the vast majority saying they plan to try their luck crossing into the United States. Although Mexico had previously said that anyone who didn’t apply for asylum would be deported, that plan seems to have been abandoned in part likely due to the sheer size of the caravan.

Trump continued his attack on the caravan Sunday, writing on Twitter that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens.” The president warned that anyone who doesn’t apply for asylum in Mexico first will be turned away. Making clear that the caravan had turned into a key campaign issue, Trump said that the caravans were a “disgrace to the Democrat Party.” On Friday, Trump had said that some members of the caravan were “hardened criminals.” When a reporter asked what evidence he had of that, Trump dismissed the question as ridiculous: “Oh, please. Please. Don’t be a baby, OK?”