The migrant caravan heading to the U.S. southern border has been estimated to have grown to more than 7,000 people by one of its organizers, who has criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the immigration crisis.
Caravan organizer Irineo Mujica, a U.S. citizen, said the caravan had swelled since Monday by about 1,000 to more than 7,000 people, reported Reuters on Wednesday. Mexican authorities had estimated its size at around 3,500 participants.
The caravan—that left southern Mexico on Monday—reportedly includes migrants from South American countries, including Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Venezuela.
It is also reported to include migrants from China, which made up the fourth-highest nationality after the Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, and Haitians.
The Chinese migrants typically fly to Ecuador as no visa is required, then head north toward Mexico’s border with the U.S., the Daily Mail reported.
Biden Admin ‘Dropped the Ball’
The caravan comes at a difficult time for the Biden administration, amid an upcoming election and increasing pressure about the heavy influx of illegal immigrants into the United States as well as the administration’s lax border policies.
Mr. Mujica said he believes the Biden administration played an instrumental role in allowing the immigration crisis to worsen.
“I believe the Biden administration has dropped the ball. A lot of the countries are fueling this immigration by … transporting people in,” Mr. Mujica told cable network Real America’s Voice.
He also said that he believes leaders of several Latin American countries are exploiting the crisis at America’s expense.
“I am completely stunned. Where is the American intelligence? Don’t they know that all the countries are conspiring against the United States to make sure they have this crisis being made so they could charge for that crisis?” he said.
He said President Joe Biden has done nothing consequential to stop the flow of migrants.
The current convoy is reportedly the largest since June 2022, when around 6,000 migrants were heading to the southern border.
400,000 Cross Darien Gap
Over 400,000 migrants have crossed the Darien Gap region connecting Panama and Colombia as of September this year, mostly aided by Colombian traffickers.
The number of monthly Chinese migrant crossings in the Gap has also increased significantly throughout this year. While there were just over 900 crossings in January, that number went up to over 2,500 in September.
Over 20,000 Chinese people were arrested for illegally crossing the border from Mexico between January and September, more than 10 times than for the same period the previous year, the Daily Mail reported.
Chinese online influencers have capitalized on the illegal crossings by popularizing the route via short video platforms and messaging apps, such as short video app Douyin, owned by TikTok owner ByteDance.
This includes instructions on how to navigate, find guides, survival techniques, which hotels to stay at, and even how much to bribe police in different countries.
They also provide detailed instructions on how to deal with U.S. immigration officers.
Translation apps facilitate a relatively smooth passage for migrants, allowing them to navigate the region independently despite not speaking the respective languages.
From NTD News