Migrant caravan expected to aim for Del Rio, Texas, or Yuma, Arizona

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The several thousand migrants traveling in a large group through southern Mexico toward the United States are expected to head to Del Rio, Texas, or Yuma, Arizona, according to two Border Patrol agents who have reviewed government intelligence reports.

The 2,000-3,000 migrants departed the Guatemala-Mexico border heading north on foot late last week. The group is first headed to Mexico City, an 800-mile journey that will take weeks to complete unless the migrants can find transportation. At present, the caravan of people has reportedly traveled 25 miles in four days.

From Mexico City, the group could split off in different directions, depending on whether smugglers escort them or they go it alone with the goal of illegally crossing the U.S. border.

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“Historically, what we've seen is the caravan will get to Mexico City, and then, they'll start to splinter out, and they'll go to multiple areas along the southwest border,” Mark Morgan, the former senior official performing the duties of Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said in a phone call.

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Border Patrol’s intelligence agents will have a better idea of where the migrants plan to cross once the group departs Mexico City, one of the agents wrote in an email. CBP, Border Patrol’s parent agency, has more than 1,000 employees overseas who assist with tracking efforts and notify their U.S.-based counterparts of where to expect large groups of migrants before they arrive.

The same agent said the caravan may steer clear of Texas “because of the political climate,” adding that California “would be much more welcoming.”

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is preemptively warning caravan members not to travel to Texas, saying that state police will arrest anyone caught trespassing and hold them in jail.

“While the Biden Administration is MIA, the Lone Star State continues to surge resources and personnel to secure our border,” Abbott tweeted on Tuesday.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lt. Chris Olivarez said the state has moved personnel to the Del Rio International Bridge, where more than 20,000 primarily Haitian migrants created an encampment in September after illegally crossing the river. The state has also sent police and military to Eagle Pass, a smaller town roughly 50 miles southeast of Del Rio.

Olivarez expects the migrants to head to the Del Rio region of Yuma, adding that it "would be the path of least resistance and you don’t have a heavy presence of cartel activity in Acuna, right across from Del Rio." The cartels charge each migrant roughly $1,000 to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, a fee that migrants can avoid paying by crossing parts of the border where the cartels are not as present.

Morgan was not as concerned with the caravan, relative to daily levels of illegal migration.

“Multiply that times three, and that's what's reaching the southwest border every single day. The United States Border Patrol deals with multiple caravans every single day. It’s just spread out through the entire southwest border,” Morgan said in an interview with the Washington Examiner Tuesday.

This caravan is not the first, with the phenomenon having emerged over the past few years. The group is the largest one to have formed since President Joe Biden took office nine months ago.

The largest caravan to travel to the border to date formed in late 2018, when more than 5,000 people made it to Tijuana, Baja California, across the border from San Diego, California. Roughly 1,000 people in the group tried to rush the border.

Then, in February 2019, a group of 1,800 migrants, primarily from Central America, traveled in a caravan-style group to Piedras Negras, Coahuila, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. Texas deployed hundreds of state troopers to the border to create a “show of force” and deter illegal migration through the Rio Grande.

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Morgan, who briefly oversaw the Border Patrol at the end of the Obama administration, said no one in the group is eligible for asylum because asylum-seekers must seek refuge in the first country they enter, but they have chosen to travel through multiple countries with the intention of going to the U.S.

“When you're an economic migrant, there is a lawful way to do that. And it's not to break into our country and then file a false asylum claim,” Morgan said.

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Tags: News, Border Crisis, Immigration, Mexico, Texas, Arizona

Original Author: Anna Giaritelli

Original Location: Migrant caravan expected to aim for Del Rio, Texas, or Yuma, Arizona

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