CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Yet another caravan of more than 1,000 mostly Central American migrants has crossed Mexico’s southern border, according to officials. They clashed briefly with federal police and immigration agents (INM) but were able to overwhelm the officials and enter illegally.
The new caravan begins the march north toward the United States as border cities like Ciudad Juárez are swelling with migrants already here from previous caravans – with more arriving from the closure of the shelter in Piedras Negras on Wednesday.
There are two shelters here that are beyond maximum capacity, each holding more than 600 people. They give the migrants pink wrist bands marked with a number to wait their turn to apply for asylum at the El Paso ports of entry.
A wheelchair-bound migrant named Jose whom we met in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Jan 15 showed Fox News his number – 6,387. It’s unclear where they are in calling numbers. Jose guesses he may have to wait another three months before being called.
Such pressures on U.S. border cities like El Paso, Texas, which is across from Ciudad Juárez, are evident in the number of apprehensions for illegal entry, which is up 478 percent this year. As of this week, there have been 43,238 apprehensions in the El Paso sector this fiscal year – compared to 7,481 at this same point last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
And migrants here are well aware of comments from Democratic 2020 hopefuls, like Beto O’Rourke, who have suggested tearing down parts of the El Paso wall.
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“I am very comfortable with that... If you ask many people here what they feel about that, they are going to say that’s very comfortable for everyone. Take the wall down,” said Randy Davidson from the Honduran island of Roatan.
Randy says there is fear amongst the migrants here not only of immigration officials on the U.S. side but also of the threat from cartels in Ciudad Juárez, once one of the most violent cities in the world, which is seeing a six-year high in murders, with more than 1,200 last year. There were more than 100 killings last month.
Meanwhile, a delegation of House Democrats led by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, will travel to El Paso on Thursday to tour CBP facilities and examine the situation on the border.
On Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen met with Central American leaders in El Salvador to address the continuous formation of caravans and discuss the development of a “regional compact” and action plan aimed at addressing the “security crisis of irregular migration.”