Wednesday, Jazz pointed out that the latest migrant caravan of about 500 Honduras had crossed the border into Guatemala. Today, Fox News reports the group was able to cross another border into Mexico with nothing to stop them:
Around 1,000 Central American migrants marched freely through the Guatemala-Mexico border on Friday after the gates were left wide open, with Mexican authorities standing down from confronting the caravan.
The border gates were open only temporarily, but migrants – who crossed the bridge from Tecun-Uman to Ciudad Hidalgo – were surprised to find no locks on the gates, effectively giving them a free pass to enter the country without being stuck at the border or registering with immigration officials and now begin the trek to the U.S. border, which can range from between 1,000 to 2,500 miles depending on the point of entry…
It was thought on Thursday that Mexican authorities will follow the new procedures introduced by the government in the wake of the clashes that would force migrants to wait five days for their paperwork to be processed before letting them enter the country.
It’s not exactly clear who opened the border gate. Was it Mexican authorities or did the migrants simply cut the lock? The Associated Press reports the migrants were promised they could pass into Mexico so long as they remained peaceful:
People simply showed identification bracelets given to them by Mexican officials and walked into the border town of Ciudad Hidalgo. They crossed over the same border bridge where another caravan clashed with Mexican police in October, when migrants tried to push through closed gates and ranks of riot police, leading authorities to fire pepper spray.
Mexico has promised to allow people through as long as they are orderly.
The AP also says the latest caravan may be larger, with as many as 1,800 people joining so far. And as was the case before, many of the people simply want a better life in America:
Yolanda Sanchez, 28, said she left Colon, Honduras, with her four children. She carried her youngest, a baby just shy of his first birthday. She is travelling with a cousin, her husband and their four children.
They hope to reach the United States, to escape poverty after her husband lost his job.
“We know that it is going to be difficult, but we just can’t survive anymore” in Honduras, she said.
On an emotional level, I can empathize with her situation. Legally speaking, she won’t have a case for asylum based on what she said here. And that means she’s almost certainly going to try to cross the border illegally. If she’s caught, then she’ll claim asylum and wind up released on this side of the border with her children for at least a year before her case is taken up by an immigration court. That’s how this works now. It’ll be interesting to see where Yolanda Sanchez is in two years. Given the system we have, my guess is living somewhere in California.