When the first wave of caravans from Central America began approaching the United States, the reaction of the media was almost unanimous:
These groups were made up of peaceful women and children fleeing violence and certain death in their home countries, and anyone who said anything else was a liar.
Caravans are a regular feature of illegal immigration now, particularly from countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. We’re told that the members of the groups are seeking safety in numbers, and there’s no doubt some truth to that.
There’s also some truth to the fact that numbers can also allow them to intimidate authorities, should the need arise. I only mention that because that’s what a group of 350 migrants Friday did at the border between Guatemala and Mexico, according to The Associated Press.
The migrants, according to the AP report, broke the locks on gates and forced their way into Mexico, going as far as to attack police.
“The National Immigration Institute did not identify the nationalities of the migrants, but they are usually from Central America,” the AP reported.
“A similar confrontation occurred on the same border bridge between Mexico and Guatemala last year.
“The institute said the migrants were acting in a ‘hostile’ and ‘aggressive’ way, and accused them of also attacking local police in Metapa, a Mexican village that lies between the border and the nearby city of Tapachula.”
The group is described as having “pushed past police” at a border bridge.
The 350-odd migrants then joined a larger caravan of migrants who were walking toward Tapachula.
— Mexico News Daily (@mexicond) April 12, 2019
As the AP noted, this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened. Last year, one caravan member was killed in a showdown with Mexican police as a group crossed the Suchiate River from Honduras into Mexico.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 29, 2018
The AP reported then that “(t)he migrants had gasoline bombs made of soft-drink bottles, and improvised PVC tubes to launch fireworks or other projectiles.”
When the caravans reached the U.S. border, meanwhile, clashes with the Border Patrol brought out tear gas.
This was during the halcyon days when caravans were novel things and the media pushed the narrative that they were simply harmless women and children. Except, of course, when their reporters actually checked out the camps:
MSNBC anchors get completely rekt by their own reporter on the ground covering the migrant caravan.
ANCHOR: “It’s innocent women and children right?”
REPORTER: “From what we’ve seen, the majority are actually men and some of these men have not articulated that need for asylum” pic.twitter.com/tWBTkeGmSE
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 26, 2018
This isn’t to paint with a broad brush. Clearly, not every member of the caravan — or even most of them — are engaging in this kind of behavior. It’s likely a very small minority.
However, it’s a small minority that the group as a whole benefits from. Without muscle to bypass Mexico’s border agents, these caravans would have to wait for humanitarian visas — visas that migrants have complained are slow in coming.
And when they’re slow in coming, this is apparently what happens.
It’s possible we could see a repeat performance at the U.S. border — especially since the administration’s “remain in Mexico” asylum policy is still in place.
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