Migrant caravans have been a reality for several years, but the one in 2018 garnered the most attention owing to the enormous number of migrants who made it up, with over 4,000 individuals from Honduras and El Salvador seeking to enter the United States through Mexico. Because of the corruption, thievery, and violence that abound in Central America, its residents are forced to flee their homes and go to other nations.
Since then, the number of caravans has only grown. The repercussions of the increased migrant flow resulted in stricter migration regulations, initially under Trump's hard hand and more recently under Biden's. And, even though the current US government is attempting to implement more humane measures, such as investing in the countries of origin, deportation in migrant detention facilities has not ceased; in fact, it is at an all-time high, more than 1.7 million in the last 12 months.
In the face of the border's hardening, migrants seek other routes to their objective, leaving them with little choice except to hire a pollero to assist them in illegally crossing the border. However, since the drug war began, the distinction between polleros, traffickers, and drug traffickers has blurred, leaving migrants vulnerable. The recent tragedy in Chiapas is an example of this; more than 160 migrants were jammed into the box of a truck after being locked in safe homes, and the vehicle overturned, killing scores.
Unfortunately, according to the National Migration Institute, many comparable examples exist now. This year, 225,000 individuals were detained, with 35,000 apprehended during raids against trailers. In Tijuana earlier this month, the National Guard stopped a vehicle transporting 75 Brazilian and Venezuelan migrants; most of them were youngsters and women. Aside from these appalling statistics, it's essential to emphasize that women and girls are the primary victims of human trafficking, with polleros typically trafficking or delivering them to criminal groups with the promise of crossing the border.
Polleros will continue to perceive migrants' lives as profitable, whether in large migrant concentration places like Ciudad Acua, Tijuana, or Chiapas. So much so that the Tijuana municipality announced a few months ago that the Garita del Chaparral would be arriving in large groups of polleros advertising their services.
Even said, this is not only a Mexican issue; the Guatemalan government's arrest of 13 polleros might hasten the FGR's investigations and usher in a new coadjustment plan among the countries responsible for the humanitarian situation. Unfortunately, the environment does not appear to be improving. Rising poverty in Central America is increasing the number of new caravans, heralding an economic and social storm for Latin American countries, with polleros likely to be the only beneficiaries.
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