Violence as second caravan breaks through Mexican border

It’s getting hard to keep up with all of the caravans heading north these days. There’s the main one out of Honduras, numbering in the thousands, which is still 1,000 miles from the Texas border. Then there’s the new one forming up in El Salvador. But now there’s a smaller one out of Guatemala consisting of several hundred migrants who are hoping to catch up to the big caravan currently leaving Tepanatepec. They’re clearly in a hurry and don’t have time to mess around with following any rules or requesting asylum. So, much like the group before them, they stormed Mexico’s southern border and forced their way across. Unfortunately, one migrant was killed as the police sought to hold them off, but reports differ as to who actually killed the person. (Associated Press)

On Sunday, while the band of migrants was resting and reorganizing in Tepanatepec, several hundred in another group more broke through border barriers in the Guatemala town of Tecun Uman just as members of the caravan did more than a week earlier. Those migrants clashed with Mexican authorities determined not to let the caravan grow or be repeated.

The new group, whose members called themselves a second caravan, gathered on the international bridge leading from Tecun Uman to Mexico. Guatemalan firefighters confirmed that a 26-year-old Honduran was killed from a rubber bullet hitting his head.

At a news conference late Sunday, Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida denied that his country’s forces were responsible.

We’re relying on media reports from an area without a lot of security or reliable sources, so it’s tough to say who is telling the truth here. The Mexican government is claiming that their police couldn’t have killed the migrant because they were deployed without firearms “or anything that could fire rubber bullets.” We’re talking about the Mexican federal police here. How likely does it sound that they would show up at the border with no guns or even non-lethal crowd control equipment? Of course, that remains pure speculation on my part.

What doesn’t seem to be in dispute is that at least some of the migrants in this group were carrying rocks and bottles to throw at the police. Others were reportedly armed with guns and firebombs, but there’s no indication that anyone on either side was actually shot. The caravan arrived in sufficient numbers to eventually overwhelm the border security forces around the bridge and make it into Mexico. If they manage to catch up to the main body of the original caravan north of Tepanatepec they will no doubt blend into the massive crowd and disappear.

What happens to them at that point may not be so pleasant, however. As Karen described yesterday, reporters have spoken to any number of members of the main group who have previously been deported as well as those convicted of violent crimes. One child was reportedly abducted on Sunday and there’s clearly some human smuggling activity going on in that group.

So once again I will put forward the same question for everyone debating the intentions and methods of these caravan participants. You’ve just seen how they smashed through the border and resorted to violence to achieve their goals on the border between Mexico and Guatemala. If and when they arrive at the American border, is it your opinion that they will quietly wait in line and stay in Mexican refugee camps while their requests for asylum or visas are systematically processed? With potentially seven thousand people, that process could take until well into next year. What have they done thus far to convince you that they’ll just calmly begin following the rules now?