Whomever set this quote “caravan” up should be held criminally accountable and legally responsible for the sickness, death, and economic chaos that will follow. No one doubts the violence and poverty that these ill-prepared and ill-equipped migrants left in Honduras. But what has been created along the border is a nightmare. In Tijuana alone, some 5,000 migrants sleep in a sports complex, a temporary shelter, and the rest sleep on pallets in the streets. To make matters worse, another 2,000 migrants are on their way.
Tijuana was ill-prepared for the deluge of people and their mayor has asked for aid from the United Nations. He has declared a “humanitarian crises” and the city is spending $27,000 a day in shelter and care. The residents of the city want the members of the caravan to leave. Demonstrations now occur daily. Crime is now plaguing the migrants. Tijuana has been struggling with drug violence for years. With the coming of the migrants, it will only get worse.
It appears that no one was prepared for the arrival of these migrants. The United States is processing about 100 applications per day but with the continuing arrival of more and more migrants, the process could take six months to a year to process thousands of applications leaving most migrants unable to provide for their daily needs for that long. Mexico does not have the resources to help for more than a few weeks to a month or so. I am sure that the U.S. authorities are concerned about the message they send to other potential caravans that could possibly form and head north if we deviate from the standard process and open the flood gates to thousands of undocumented migrants. The problems in Mexico then shift to the United States.
The whole border issue is a powder keg. Most of the migrants came unprepared. Food is bound to run out and many have only the clothes they have on. Care will eventually depend on donations and aid from other countries but there is no plan in place to process this aid or even if the aid itself will be forthcoming. Migrants could be scattered all over the Mexican-United States border which will complicate the issue. Medical issues will start to become a major problem especially if food is not forthcoming. Most migrants are in what is called a “catch 22” situation. They cannot go home; Mexico does not want them. The United States cannot accept their numbers in a reasonable timeframe based upon the system and personnel at the border processing sites. Riots could occur resulting in death if matters get out of hand. This chaotic situation could have been prevented. Each country along the way passed the problem onto the next country until the caravans reached the United States border.
Complicating the big picture is the fact that the situation in Venezuela is a tragic economic mess with high expenses and scarce jobs. Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, to name just a few, are on the edge of the same economic collapse with governments that are at best shaky and unreliable. There has to be a better more sane, approach, to solving the problems in the Latin American countries. This approach has to address the problems in each country first. We cannot form more and more caravans that use poverty stricken individuals as pawns. The United States is prepared to accept a reasonable amount of migrants in any given time period, but to accept 10,000 migrants at a time is more than any country can absorb given their limited infrastructure and ability to absorb these migrants.