Another caravan of Central American migrants is heading north toward the U.S.-Mexico border after leaving southern Mexico on Thursday – the same day that President Biden met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and did not press the border crisis with him.
The caravan of about 2,000 Central American and Haitian migrants is the latest to attempt the journey toward the U.S. border, according to the Associated Press. They left the town of Tapachula on Thursday with belongings in small bags or on their heads and small children riding on top of their parents’ shoulders.
Pictures of the caravan showed hundreds of migrants traveling together down a main road, with cars seen in the background behind them. The local authorities reportedly controlled the traffic and did not try to stop the group.
The caravan follows one of the same size, which continued its journey to the United States last month.
On Thursday, Biden met with Obrador in a one-on-one bilateral meeting before the North American leadership summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
During their meeting, the two neighborhood leaders discussed a “joint investment” to allow the United States and Mexico to “jointly address the root causes of migration in Central America,” the White House later announced.
This year, the United States has seen a historic number of border crossings and arrests along the southern border, as an increasing number of caravans have continued to travel north since Biden took office. In fiscal year 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents recorded the arrest of over 1.7 million illegal immigrants – the second-highest annual figure ever recorded.
Despite the record number, migration across the US-Mexico border was not a key focus during Thursday’s meeting.
Instead, Obrador took the time to call for new U.S. migration rules to facilitate the legal exchange of labor and urged Congress to approve Biden’s plan to grant conditional amnesty to most of the estimated 11 million people living illegally in the United States.
“Why not study the demands of the workforce, the demands of the workforce, and open up the flow of migration?” he said.
He added: “President Biden, no president in the history of the United States has expressed that you have such a clear and secure commitment to improving the situation of migrants, and that is why I would like to express my appreciation.
“And I refer in particular to your proposal to regulate the migration status of 11 million people who live and work honestly in this great nation. I hope you have the support of Congress and the members of both Democratic and Republican parties.”
Prior to the meeting, the White House revealed that the border crisis would be at the back of the conversation.
“There is no real focus, this time, on our borders,” an administration official told reporters during a preview of the negotiations.
When journalists asked about the “Stay in Mexico” policy, the official said that “it’s actually not one of the themes or focuses of [the meetings]. “
Republican lawmakers have repeatedly called on the Biden administration to take action while the caravans head north.
Earlier this month, nearly 100 congressional Republicans demanded in a letter that the Department of Homeland Security detail its plan to handle at least one caravan traveling to the United States.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas received by The Post, Republicans said they were “deeply concerned” about the situation and warned that border agents “are already overworked, understaffed and undersupplied due to the influx of migrants this year. “
“In the past year alone, the U.S. Border Patrol has registered nearly 1.7 million migrant arrests at the southern border, the highest number of illegal crossings in history,” wrote lawmakers led by House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY)) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “If the administration does not start responding appropriately to these caravans and the ongoing border crisis, these increases will certainly continue.”
Their call for action came after a caravan of between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants pushed past a highway check manned by about 400 Mexican officers in southern Mexico in October.
“Joe Biden’s failed border policy has created the worst crisis at our southern border in 30 years. These policies are now encouraging mass caravans of illegals to go to our southern border,” Stefanik said in a statement. “Instead of addressing the root cause of our border crisis, the Biden administration is doubling down on their failed policies. It is time for the Biden administration to take steps to secure our southern border and our nation. “
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