Largest Ever Migrant Caravan Heading to United States
Close to 10,000 migrants formed a caravan north of the Mexico-Guatemala border, heading to the United States in what could become the largest migrant caravan in history. The immigration policy of President Biden appears to be a significant motivating factor for migrants in this caravan, with one Haitian man citing the end of Title 42 as a reason for his decision to journey to the United States with this caravan.
Migrant caravans are a growing phenomenon in which migrants travel in large groups, often supported by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other nonprofits, in order to reduce the violence and exploitation that is common along the route from South and Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border. One of the first well-known caravans began in March 2018, when more than one thousand Central Americans, supported by the Pueblo Sin Fronteras organization, traveled to America’s southern border.
Today’s caravan dwarfs those formed in 2018. Reporting indicates that the current caravan could swell to include over 15,000 individuals – all of whom plan to travel to the United States and claim asylum. Migrants abuse the asylum process because it grants them temporary legal status in the country, where they are free to live and work while their asylum claim navigates through the immigration courts.
The average number of days that it takes to close an immigration case is 852 days – meaning that most cases take well over two years to complete and close. During those two years, aliens receive work permits and begin to build roots in this country, even though immigration judges reject a majority of asylum claims. In FY 2021, immigration judges denied 63 percent of all (defensive and offensive) asylum claims.
President Biden’s policies and statements have had an obvious impact on illegal immigration since he took office in January 2021. Since that time, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has apprehended more than 2 million illegal aliens. In the first seven months of the 2022 fiscal year, CBP apprehended in excess of 1.2 million illegal aliens, and April 2022’s apprehension total of 234,088 is the highest monthly tally in American history. Preliminary reporting indicates that May 2022’s tally may be even higher than April’s.
Until the Biden administration takes the border crisis seriously, nothing will change. Caravans will continue forming, and apprehensions at the southern border will continue rising. President Biden could take measures to address this situation, such as by fully implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols and by reentering the asylum cooperation agreement negotiations with the northern triangle countries. But given this administration’s actions so far, that seems unlikely.