Traveling at a sluggish pace of 10 miles per day, the migrant caravan probably wouldn't arrive at the nearest US border crossing at McAllen, Texas until February, according to one observer, who debunked claims widely circulated by the media that the caravan would arrive before the Nov. 6 midterm election.
But as it turns out, the organizations that have been aiding the caravan since it first formed in Honduras nearly three weeks ago have already accounted for this. And to help ensure that images of border patrol agents arresting families and separating small children from their parents are flashing across cable news in the days and hours before the polls open, these groups are employing a new tactic: Busing.
That's right. As Fox News report on Tuesday showed, migrants traveling with the caravan are being loaded on to chartered buses and transported to the next stop on the trail to the US, having refused Mexico's offer of asylum, shelter and jobs should they opt to stay in the country. Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins revealed that multiple professional buses have lined up to board the migrants, as footage from the report showed.
As more than 5,000 troops mass on the border and a second caravan crosses into Mexico from Guatemala, Jenkins exposed more than 11 buses carrying some of the migrants organized in the state of Oaxaca. While the buses can't carry every member of the caravan - that would require more than 80 buses, by Fox's count, they can speed members closer to their next stop. Meanwhile, two more caravans in Guatemala and El Salvador.
"Something new that’s developing here," Jenkins said as he wandered the bus loading zone. "We’ve seen the 5,000 strong caravan walking to the border but now they’re waiting for a ride to the border. This is the first time I have seen an organized bus operation from the state of Oaxaca actually getting volunteer buses to put people … on them and take them to their next location."
The buses are just the latest example of the support the migrants have received from local townspeople and organizations from within Mexico, as the country's police and military have largely stood aside despite President Trump's demands that the Mexican government do something to slow or stop the caravan.
That’s very significant now because these towns continue to help them. When we began this way back a week or so – Mexican police were trying to dissuade them from going across the Guatemala-Mexico border. At least some of the towns are assisting them to make their way.
It's unclear who's paying for the buses or when more would be coming (but Jenkins believes more are on their way). However, the motivation behind the campaign should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the first caravan formed. Getting the migrants to the border, where Trump's beefed-up border presence is waiting, is clearly a key component of the Democrats' election strategy (and has taken on increased importance since the Democrats attempts to make the vote about health care have largely foundered). Their logic probably looks something like this. Step 1. Get the migrants to the border in the days before the vote. Step 2. Replay the outrage blitz that followed Trump's order to separate migrant children from their families earlier this year. Step 3. Convince moderates that they would be committing an inhumane act by supporting Republicans. Step 4. (hopefully) victory.