Trump's resolve is breaking the migrant caravan up fast
Dragging into its fourth week, all signs are on that the migrant caravan is falling apart.
According to the Associated Press:
ISLA, Mexico – A 4,000-strong caravan of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico split up into several groups with one spending the night in a town in the coastal state of Veracruz and other migrants continuing toward the country's capital.
The divisions came during a tense day in which tempers flared and some migrants argued with caravan organizers and criticized Mexican officials.
How did it happen? Obviously, someone promised them something for free and then didn't pay up. This is about what you'd expect when someone offers something for free, and then realizes that the whole thing is not going to pay off in the politically useful way expected. Why pay for nothing?
Whether it was Venezuelan or Sorosian or Mexican, the free cash for a free ride to the border and all the free stuff of the U.S. just never materialized. That has raised questions about why the group should stay together instead of split apart. After all, anyone can apply for asylum to the states on his own. Applying in a 4,000-strong group pretty well means a long wait time, and limited utility to the individuals.
A promised bus ride to Mexico City for thousands of migrants from Central America was the latest money that never materialized. Mexico's Veracruz governor, anxious to get the migrants out of his home state as soon as possible, promised them all free bus rides to Mexico City. Then he withdrew the offer, likely because Mexico City didn't want them there either. Mexican federal authorities reportedly warned the Veracruz governor he'd be charged with human-trafficking if his free bus rides rolled out to the Mexican capital. Obviously, Mexico City does not see itself as having much to gain politically from the big migrant caravan and the series of caravans that are still forming and progressing northward, also expecting free bus rides, anymore.
The non-government organizations are suddenly silent, too, no more noisy press conferences to browbeat the gringos. Was it their consciousness about the impact of the news photos showing thousands of migrants streaming across bridges and rivers, and strewing trash all over Mexican towns, that dried their money up? Organizing these caravans obviously isn't paying off for them, either, particularly since some, such as the Sorosian groups, have been harshly criticized already.
Or was it the increasingly tattered legal case for allowing the migrants in? So many migrants marching behind the Honduran banner told the press they were coming to the U.S. to escape poverty and get jobs in the U.S. and better their lives (through access to free stuff) and in their words "fulfill the American dream," it rather negated the media's "narrative" that they were just harmless refugees fleeing "violence" that Americans would be heels not to allow in. Who wants to finance such a shifting and failed narrative, given the billions of impoverished, illiterate people from badly governed places worldwide who'd also like to have a crack at America?
Or was it the Democrats' weird silence about the whole thing that dried the caravan's money up? The fact that the press is now reporting, vigorously, that the migrants are harmless and President Obama is insisting that President Trump is using those news photos for his midterm purposes (as if the photos were not motivating in themselves for action to stop the caravan) pretty well signals that the migrant caravan, far from being a heartstring-tugger, as the organizers seemed to think it would be, is political poison for the Democrats. That would explain their silence and general efforts to change the topic and pretend it doesn't exist. It would also explain why the NGO money is not flowing.
And was word sent to Venezuela diplomatically that it's on thin ice as another round of sanctions came down from El Norte? Or, more likely, does Venezuela simply not have the money, just the acolytes in Tegucigalpa, as the president of Honduras told Vice President Mike Pence? Just the fact that the conservative Honduran president's far-left Chavista political opposition has been accused of doing this as a political stunt suggests, as a former Honduran consul general in Arizona told ABC15, that the migrants are being used. At about this point, the migrants probably know they are being used.
The lack of money, the silence, the lack of support, all of these things, along with the utterly grueling journey (seriously, how easy is it to walk twenty miles a day, day after day, with little or no money for food?) pretty well add up to an enterprise ripe for breaking apart. Who, seriously, would want to stay with it?
But here's the big thing that is probably breaking up the migrant caravan more than anything: President Trump's resolve to enforce existing rule of law. He's sent troops. He's sent reinforcements. He's thrown up the razor wire. He's warned the invaders that they will not be treated at all differently from all the other people asking for asylum, and they will have to wait their turn in line. What's more, if they get into the U.S., there won't be the freedom to do what they want for awhile, no catch and release, because they will have to wait in tent cities for their cases to be adjudicated, same as other people. The two- to three-year period of working in the states and going home to Honduras with earned (or not so earned) money after the final deportation order isn't going to be there anymore. For quite a few of them, news reports suggested that all they wanted were those two- to three-year periods to work, either legally or illegally, in the states, and they'd go home happy with the money.
Trump also put pressure on Mexico to encourage it to keep its immigration system regular, something it did with spotty results, but news reports do say the caravans are getting smaller, and Mexico is insisting on passports for passage through.
Bottom line: There's less and less advantage to being in the caravan, no special privileges, and more and more advantage to immigrating legally.
The break-up of this caravan is clearly the result of the leadership and resolve of President Trump. Funny how he can do that across borders, without so much as firing a shot.
Image credit: Fox News screen shots.