The main caravan is currently estimated at between 4,000 and 5,000 people, around which 75 percent are men. The migrants voted late Thursday night to leave Mexico’s capital in a bid to reach Querétaro, about 120 miles north, reported USA Today.
The caravan had paused in Mexico City since Nov. 3, allowing some migrants to catch up or join the primary contingent, although it’s not clear whether the second caravan was able to catch up.
Four caravans have entered Mexico in recent weeks, with one staying in southern Mexico and agreeing to the country’s recently announced asylum program, which provides jobs, education, and healthcare. The other three clashed with Mexican police officers and largely ignored the asylum program, claiming it didn’t meet their needs.
Christopher Gascon, the Mexico representative for the International Organization for Migration, said that there are an estimated 4,000 migrants between the two caravans behind the first one.
Trump has escalated his response to the caravans, first threatening to cut aid to Central American governments and ending up doing so after presidents failed to stop the caravan. He then ordered troops to the border to help strengthen it and support Border Patrol agents. On Nov. 9, Trump signed a proclamation that makes migrants who enter the United States illegally, outside official ports of entry, ineligible for asylum.
Many migrants wouldn’t qualify for asylum because they’re only fleeing poverty and/or violence from gangs, conditions that don’t qualify for asylum under policy guidelines updated by the Trump administration earlier this year. A number have admitted in interviews with various news agencies that they were previously deported from the United States.
Asylum-seekers have always needed to prove that they have suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Persecution is generally only considered if it is state-sanctioned or condoned.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in October that half of the illegal aliens who plead credible fear at the border don’t file a claim. “This suggests they knew their asylum claims lacked merit and that their claim of fear was simply a ruse to enter the country illegally,” Sessions said.
Under catch-and-release, migrants could disappear within America and not show up for court, an option many take. Trump has worked to restrict that option. Sessions said that “the system is being gamed.”
“Our asylum laws are meant to protect those who, because of characteristics like race, religion, nationality, or political opinions, cannot find protection in their home countries. They were never intended to provide asylum to all those who fear generalized violence, crime, personal vendettas, or a lack of job prospects,” he said.
From NTD News