You have probably already heard of this particular hot topic that has been all over the news, The Immigrant Caravan, but what is it’s purpose and how is the U.S involved?
First, let’s describe this phenomenon and how it came to be.
The caravan of immigrants, consisting mostly of Honduran individuals that are fleeing from extreme poverty and violence in their war-torn streets, has been traveling through Mexico over the past month in an effort to seek asylum and escape from their countries that are currently facing these harsh, war-like conditions. When seeking asylum, the U.S is obligated to hear them out, as stated by the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and through its own immigration laws. It’s also stated under those laws, that asylum seeker is not required to file for asylum in the first country they reach, but the first “safe” country and arguments could easily be made that Mexico isn’t safe.
Now let’s dive into the caravan’s travel course and other details.
The Mexican government estimates about 3,600 people are heading north. The caravan’s organizers and international aid groups, including UNHCR, have estimated that about 7,000 people make up the group.
At an estimated pace of 20-30 miles a day, the caravan still has a long journey ahead before reaching the U.S border.
In the near horizon, the caravan faces many uncertainties. Everything depends on which roads they’re allowed to travel, whether some of the members are detained, or if they’ll be provided transportation for a quicker journey. On the other hand, the hardships that the caravan has faced in the past few days has swayed many of its members to reconsider, as some have split-off from the group and make their own path, while others have decided to stay and live in Mexico or return to their country. Mexican authorities stated that over 2,700 asylum requests are being processed and nearly 500 more members have voluntarily agreed to return to their home country.
It’s hard to tell what’s going on in the minds and hearts, but their efforts have certainly helped spread awareness and shed some light on fundamental issues that surround the U.S’s immigration policies. This caravan has been labeled by some as one of the biggest and most symbolic public protests to raise awareness about the predicament of immigrants.