I'm from Mexico, and if I wanted to enter the United States, I can think of about 50 ways of doing it, and that's just off the top of my head.

So I wonder what the point of this migrant caravan thing is? What I mean is, if they wanted to enter the US, why not just ... do it? What's the point of actually warning the country whose border you are about to illegally cross? Doesn't that defeat the whole point?

I know that some of the migrants wanted to seek asylum, which makes total sense, since then the caravan even brings attention to their struggles. But the asylum seekers were a minority (like, 150 people out of 1000). Many just wanted to get into the US no matter what. In fact, once the caravan reached the border, the US already had soldiers stationed there, and some migrants where actually arrested trying to cross. I mean, what the hell did they expect? Why try to sneak into the country on one hand, but on the other hand also make a huge global event about your arrival to the border?

That's like me saying I'm going to rob a bank tomorrow, so today I am going to set up a caravan where me and my co-robbers are going to walk towards the bank with posters saying "HERE WE COME" and "YOUR MONEY IS OURS". It doesn't seem to compute.

TLDR: Why, in the world, did migrants who intented to illegally cross into the US join this Caravan-thingy? Why not use the many other and smarter ways to get in?

  • 36
    "What's the point of actually warning the country whose border you are about to illegally cross?" They mostly aren't illegally crossing. They're presenting themselves for asylum, which is a form of legal immigration. (Some may resort to illegal crossings if it takes too long; IIRC they're only accepting 100 applications a day currently.)
    – ceejayoz
    Nov 26, 2018 at 1:58
  • 17
    Can you provide a source for your numbers on asylum seekers you cited in your question? Nov 26, 2018 at 14:46
  • 7
    @Chloe Let's not paint in broad strokes, just because someone is from South or Central America doesn't make them uneducated. Certainly there are those who are not (just like in any country), but we cannot eliminate those who are (including the leaders and organizers of the group). It may even be called manipulative to encourage such a large group of people to travel so far for what is essentially a publicity stunt, knowing full-well the majority will be barred entrance for a swath of reasons.
    – SnakeDoc
    Nov 26, 2018 at 20:00
  • 11
    "But the asylum seekers were a minority (like, 150 people out of 1000)" - can you provide a source for this?
    – Gramatik
    Nov 26, 2018 at 20:31
  • 4
    "I can think of about 50 ways of doing it" -- That sounds like an absurd exaggeration, even combining legal, illegal, and impractical methods.
    – JoL
    Nov 27, 2018 at 0:13

1 Answer 1

  • Refugees and illegal migrants moving through central America and Mexico are exploited and abused by criminal gangs. Some members of the caravan thought that going together would provide some degree of protection because of the publicity.
  • Ideally, the members of the caravan want refugee status in the US, not illegal entry. Again, going together brings publicity and thus an increased chance of getting that hearing. (The chance of a successful outcome is slim with the current administration, but no worse than going alone.)
  • Some might have hoped to form a sufficiently large group that humanitarian concerns force the various governments' hands, just as the conditions in the Budapest Railway Station prompted Germany to process these refugees.
  • 7
    "The chance of a successful outcome is slim with the current administration, but no worse than going alone." Unless, of course, the publicity results in a series of executive orders increasing border guards at the locations where the caravan was likely to cross, limiting the number of asylum applications that would be accepted at legal crossings, and denying all asylum applications from illegal crossings. (All of those things happened, though the last is currently in court limbo.)
    – reirab
    Nov 26, 2018 at 21:32
  • 1
    @reirab I don't think the increase of border guards should matter if their intent is applying for asylum. Also, this is the first I hear that asylum applications are being limited. They're processing 100 a day which sounds like way more than they're probably accustomed to normally process. I think that's just how many they're able to handle.
    – JoL
    Nov 27, 2018 at 0:19
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    I think another plausible explanation (not mutually exclusive with the others) is that the migrants were organized and encouraged to do this as a challenge to US sovereignty. Several of the governments of the countries the caravan has passed through would be sympathetic to such a thing. Nov 27, 2018 at 15:46
  • 2
    @BenCollins, genuinely challenging US sovereignty would be beyond any or all Central American countries, even if they'd like to see the US taken down a peg or two (as e.g. Venezuela would). The only one with the will and power to challenge the US is China, since the EU lacks the necessary coherence and Russia lacks the necessary power.
    – o.m.
    Nov 27, 2018 at 17:33
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    @o.m. I strongly disagree. "Challenging sovereignty" is not an all-out war, or even necessarily violent. The point is to poke and prod and see if the US has the political will to enforce its sovereignty. Immigration politics provide a convenient wedge for doing exactly this. Nov 27, 2018 at 17:36

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