A new, larger migrant caravan is set to leave Honduras on Jan. 15 according to Spanish-language media and migrant rights advocates.
"They say they are even bigger and stronger than the last caravan," according to Irma Garrido of migrant advocacy group Reactiva Tijuana Foundation.
News of the new caravan comes as thousands of Central American migrants from an October caravan remain stranded at various cities along the US-Mexico border as they face wait times of up to several months for the United States to process their asylum requests. What's more, if migrants cannot justify their asylum claims, they may be denied.
Coordinators who helped direct the migrants on the 2,000-mile trek with bullhorns, arranging for buses and giving advice along the way, have mostly vanished. Many of the migrants say they feel abandoned and unsure where to turn next. Some are ready to return home.
Garrido said this new, larger caravan will probably be joined by more people in El Salvador and in Guatemala, but she said they don’t plan on coming straight to the Tijuana-San Diego border, where resources are already stretched nearly to a breaking point. -LA Times
"They will stay in the south of Mexico in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Their aim is to request work there," said Garrido.
Meanwhile, an incoming congresswoman of the Texas border city of El Paso has warned of an imminent "crisis" as the city scrambles to accommodate at least 1,600 migrants dumped by federal authorities over the last several days. The issue is that the entire town is packed to the brim with fans attending the Sun Bowl college football game El Paso has hosted since 1935.
"We're facing a real crisis coming up … to find places for all of these (migrant) families," said Democratic representative-elect Veronica Escobar.
Escobar said migrants who can't be housed in shelters have been staying in hotel rooms paid by Annunciation House, the non-profit spearheading the efforts to house and feed them. But, she said, if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues releasing large numbers of migrants, the El Paso community will struggle to find places for them because many hotels have been booked by people attending Monday's game.
Escobar added it's already been "very, very difficult and very challenging" to put up the migrants dropped off by ICE. And, she said, the coming hotel crunch will only make the task tougher. -CBS News
During a Thursday bilingual press conference, Annunciation House Executive Director Ruben Garcia announced that US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had dropped off over 1,600 migrants in El Paso since Sunday - and that Wednesay's delivery of 500 migrants was the largest he's seen. On Thursday, around 320 more were taken to El Paso.
According to ICE, they had to release the migrants due to overcrowding in their holding facilities as well as concerns over laws governing how long families can remain detained by immigration authorities. A spokesman for the agency told CBS that they have been notifying local officials before dropping the groups off, however charities have told the agency that they are having trouble accommodating the migrants.
"We are living through an immigration crisis that is in part driven by a disastrous ruling by a district court judge in the Ninth Circuit that incentives illegal alien adults to put their children in the hands of smugglers and traffickers. The Flores Settlement Agreement has created an immigration loophole that rewards parents for bringing their children with them to the United States," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman Katie Waldman in a statement emailed to CBS on Friday.
Escobar called on the Trump administration to help El Paso by undertaking the "short-term" solution of investing in "family-friendly" holding facilities for migrants. "This really is a federal obligation and the federal government needs to step in and build some temporary housing facilities, in the way that they did in 2016," she said. "That needs to happen immediately."
The long-term solution, she added, is to invest heavily in the "Northern Triangle" of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to curb the region's widespread poverty and intensifying gang violence. -CBS News
"We need to work with Central America and make probably some significant investments there and hopefully, through good collaboration, find some solutions to the poverty and crime that are driving thousands and thousands of people from Central America into the United States," said Escobar.