Yet another caravan of Central American migrants is headed north toward the US-Mexico border after leaving southern Mexico Thursday — the same day President Biden met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and did not press the border crisis with him.
The caravan of around 2,000 Central American and Haitian migrants is the latest to attempt the journey toward the US border, according to the Associated Press. They left the city of Tapachula on Thursday with belongings in small bags or on their heads and small children riding atop parents’ shoulders.
Images of the caravan showed the hundreds of migrants traveling together down a main road, with cars seen in the background behind them. Local authorities reportedly controlled traffic and did not attempt to stop the group.
The caravan follows one of a similar size that continued its trek to the US last month.
On Thursday, Biden met with Obrador in a one-on-one bilateral meeting before the North American Leaders Summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
During their meeting, the two neighboring leaders discussed a “joint investment” to allow the US and Mexico to “address together the root causes of migration in Central America,” the White House later announced.
This year, the US has seen historic numbers of border crossings and arrests along the southern border as an increasing number of caravans continued to travel northbound since Biden took office. In the 2021 fiscal year, US Border Patrol agents recorded arresting over 1.7 million illegal immigrants — the second-highest annual figure ever recorded.
Despite the record numbers, migration across the US-Mexico border was not a key focus during Thursday’s meeting.
Instead, Obrador took the time to urge new US migration rules to facilitate legal labor exchanges, calling on Congress to approve Biden’s plan to grant conditional amnesty to most of the estimated 11 million people living in the US illegally.
“Why not study the workforce demands, the labor demands and open the migratory flow?” he said.
He added: “President Biden, no president in the history of the United States has expressed as you have such a clear and certain commitment to improve the situation of the migrants and thus I wish to express my acknowledgment.
“And I particularly refer to your proposal to regulate the migratory status of 11 million people who live and work honestly in this great nation. I hope that you have the support of Congress and the members of both Democrat and Republican parties.”
Prior to the meeting, the White House revealed the border crisis would sit on the back burner in the conversation.
“There’s not a real focus, this time around, on our borders,” an administration official told reporters on a preview call ahead of the talks.
When reporters asked about the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the official said that “it’s not actually one of the themes or focuses of [the meetings].”
Republican lawmakers have continuously called on the Biden administration to take action as the caravans make their way north.
Earlier this month, nearly 100 congressional Republicans demanded in a letter that the Department of Homeland Security detail its plan for dealing with at least one caravan traveling to the US.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas obtained by The Post, the Republicans said they were “deeply concerned” about the situation and warned that border agents “are already overworked, undermanned, and under-supplied as a result of the influx of migrants this year.”
“In the past year alone, U.S. Border Patrol has recorded nearly 1.7 million migrant apprehensions at the southern border, which is the highest number of illegal crossings in history,” wrote the lawmakers, led by House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “If the Administration does not begin to appropriately respond to these caravans and the ongoing border crisis, these surges will surely continue.”
Their call for action came after a caravan containing between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants pushed past a highway checkpoint manned by around 400 Mexican officers in southern Mexico in October.
“Joe Biden’s failed border policies have created the worst crisis at our southern border in 30 years. These policies are now incentivizing mass caravans of illegals to head 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 past time for the Biden Administration to take action to secure our southern border and our nation.”