Last week we discussed the news that another large group of people in Honduras clearly hadn’t received the memo and were forming up yet another caravan to head to the United States. Despite efforts by both Mexico and the United States to find some other alternative for them, a group of more than 500 Hondurans packed up their things and set out in short order. As of last night, they had already crossed the border into Guatemala, presenting themselves in a reportedly orderly fashion. (Associated Press)
The latest caravan of Honduran migrants hoping to reach the U.S. has crossed peacefully into Guatemala, under the watchful eyes of about 200 Guatemalan police and soldiers.
About 500 people, including dozens of children, lined up to show their documents to a first line of unarmed security personnel at the Agua Caliente border crossing Tuesday night. Riot police formed a second line to contain any possible disturbance.
Edilberto Hernandez, a former police officer, stood with his wife and four children to cross into Guatemala. After losing his job, he could find only low-paid construction work, and he decided to travel with his whole family to the United States.
Most of the mainstream media reporting of this story focuses on interviews with migrants who tell tales of poverty and gang violence in their home country. That’s certainly true for many people in Honduras, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. Reading deeper into the article, local reporters spoke to a number of caravan members who said they had been deported after the previous caravan but were “ready to try again.”
Yet again I’m forced to wonder who is providing these people with legal advice, assuming anyone is. Those Hondurans already entered the United States illegally at least once and are now clearly ready to give it another shot. But after the first time you’re deported, if you are caught crossing the border a second time you can be charged with a felony and sent to prison. That’s not going to improve your prospects in the least.
One other item buried quite a ways down in the AP report is of interest. Remember that last caravan which swelled to nearly 6,000 people? There are far fewer people hanging around in Tijuana these days, so where did they all go? Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco told the Associated Press that 2,600 caravan-related arrests were made in the San Diego sector and they believe that roughly half of that caravan crossed the U.S. border illegally. Do you honestly think that this next caravan will be any different?
This situation isn’t going away. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise weighed in on Twitter with a good summary of the battle to come and what Democrats need to do about it.
It’s time for this shutdown to end. If Democrats don’t support funding the resources our experts say they need to secure our border, they need to provide their own counteroffer of what they’d suggest instead. They claim to support border security, but they won't vote for it. pic.twitter.com/aJRHiKyBRt
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 16, 2019
That’s the only sensible path forward. It’s time for the shutdown to end with an agreement to fund hardening of the border wall, fence, barrier or whatever you want to call it. The people on the front lines have made it clear that too many people are able to cross in that part of California and we don’t have the manpower or resources to catch and detain them all.