Caravan decides: It's California or bust

The main Honduran migrant caravan, still estimated to be roughly 4,000 strong, has been camped out in a sports stadium in Mexico City for the better part of a week now. That’s coming to an end this morning, however, as their patience has apparently been exhausted. Caravan leaders have gotten everyone together to decide their next move and, perhaps predictably, they’re heading north again. But rather than taking the shorter route toward Texas, they are opting for the longer and more dangerous route to the northwest, heading for Tijuana and presumably the Cruce Peatonal Hacia México border crossing near San Diego. (Associated Press)

The bulk of the caravan will follow the roughly 900 migrants who left Mexico City on Friday, and many were impatient to get going after having spent much of the week in the sports complex…

The migrants’ plan was to take a subway to the northern part of Mexico’s capital, then proceed first to the city of Queretaro, followed by Guadalajara, Culiacan and Hermosillo until the migrants arrive in Tijuana on the U.S. border, said Nashieli Ramirez, director of Mexico’s Human Rights Commission.

Ramirez said that 90 percent of the at least 4,000 migrants remaining in Mexico City would depart before dawn Saturday and that 400 had decided to stay in Mexico.

You can read a lot into this decision, depending on which version of the current spin you choose to believe. Currently, the migrants are roughly 600 miles from the closest border crossing at McAllen, Texas. That’s still a long march on foot, but if they can average 20 miles a day (no easy feat) they could arrive in approximately a month. But by choosing to try for Tijuana, they now have a 1,740-mile march ahead of them. Even under ideal conditions that would take almost three months unless they can find some sort of mass transportation option.

If you ask the leaders of the caravan, they’re saying that the area on the Mexican side of the Texas border is full of drug cartels and gangs, making it too dangerous to go there. But in reality, the journey to the country’s west coast and then northward through Durango, Sonora and beyond is not only three times as long, but also rife with criminal activity. So why choose that?

While the rank and file migrants may not all be up on the latest news and the political climate in the United States, their leaders clearly are. They frequently comment during interviews on remarks made by the President and stories in the mainstream media. They’re likely aware that there may be a very stern welcome for them waiting in Texas, including a significant U.S. military presence. On the other hand, reaching the Tijuana crossing means they would be entering California, where the Democratic state government will likely welcome them as heroes upon their arrival.

But how many of the 4,000 will last another three months march on foot over more than 1,700 miles? (The Mexican government is still holding the line on our behalf and not offering mass transportation.) For the time being, we seem to have a good three months to find out.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on February 01, 2023