On Monday, a caravan of thousands of immigrants left Tapachula in Chiapas (Mexico) and headed towards the U.S. border. Between 3,500 and 5,000 migrants, mainly from Honduras, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, El Salvador and Guatemala, began the march in the town with the intention of reaching Mexico City, where they will stop before continuing with their trip to the north of the country.
The caravan has the protection of local and state authorities who are collaborating and helping the migrants during their journey, according to what the Civil Protection of Chiapas posted on X (formerly Twitter).
The goal is to obtain humanitarian visas
According to Reuters, their first stop is the municipality of Huehuetán, about 15.5 miles (25 km) north of where they left. According to Irineo Mujica, one of the organizers of the caravan, the reason why they decided to start the march was the "frustration of not being able to obtain humanitarian visas" since their objective is to achieve the "American dream."
An example of this is Oscar Gutiérrez, a migrant from Venezuela who travels with his wife and two daughters. He spoke with the news agency and assured that in his case, moving to the U.S. is practically a necessity: "In Venezuela, things are very hard, we cannot live with the money we have, it is not enough for us, and that is why we leave. To United States".
Elementos de la Secretaría de #ProtecciónCivil estatal, Protección Civil Tapachula y autoridades municipales, brindan atención al fenómeno socio-organizativo caravana migrante denominado "Viacrusis del Migrante" con la finalidad de brindar asistencia humanitaria pic.twitter.com/Xqh9k7kTP9
— Protección Civil Chiapas (@pcivilchiapas) October 30, 2023
Necessity also led Honduran Carlos Eduardo Martínez to head to the United States. As he explained to the newspaper The Day, he decided to join the caravan because he was not able to find work in Tapachula, and there were still three more months left to wait before meeting with the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance: "I couldn't continue waiting without money, sleeping on the street, it's not life. We better make our way[towards the north] and we hope that the government will help us, not stop us," he explained.
It is not the first migrant caravan to head to the southern border this year. At the beginning of March, thousands of migrants also set out from Tapachula. Weeks later, another crowd also left for the United States. Since then, several caravans have left en route to the U.S., which is facing an unprecedented border crisis.
What is CBP One?
As it turned out, one of the objectives of the caravan is to seek asylum through CBP One, an application that became relevant after the end of Title 42, a restrictive measure that remained from the Coronavirus pandemic and that prevented the entry of immigrants to the United States by the southern border.
The application is from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which depends on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The application is intended for all those who wish to enter the United States through seeking humanitarian parole since it allows undocumented immigrants to send information in advance to the corresponding agencies without having to go in person to the port of entry. Then, it is checked that the person in question (along with their partner or children) has the necessary criteria to present themselves.
“The free CBP One mobile app allows non-citizens without the appropriate documents for admission seeking to travel to the United States through certain land ports of entry (POE) at the southwest border, the ability to send information through a module within the application instead of coming directly to wait at a POE,” DHS explained in a statement.
In short, CBP speeds up the admission process for immigrants, even if they do not have the corresponding documents. The Biden Administration defends the application, arguing that it creates a more orderly process for asylum seekers.
The Republican vision is different as they understand that it creates incentives to promote illegal immigration on the southern border.
On the other hand, human rights organizations criticized the operation of the application. As reported by Univision, “Human rights groups filed a lawsuit, alleging that the new rule endangered migrants by leaving them in northern Mexico while they waited to get an appointment on the CBP One app that the government is using to grant them migrants the opportunity to reach the border and seek asylum.”