Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, has been organizing migrant caravans for a while. The latest was their largest, reaching 7,000 people by the time it crossed the southern Mexican border. Now that most of them are waiting in horrible conditions to apply for asylum that is unlikely to be granted, many are concerned that they were conned.
Founder Roberto Corona and his team of activists deny the claims, saying they took a voice vote while they were in southern Mexico. But migrants present during the vote noted that the extremely generous offer of food, housing, medical attention, schooling, jobs, and most importantly asylum, which was offered by the Mexican government, was too good to be true.
If they had been told what they should expect at the border between Mexico and the United States, many more of them would have taken Mexico up on its offer.
Adelaida Gonzalez, a member of the migrant caravan who traveled with her son and neighbor from Guatemala City, said she wished she’d accepted Mexico’s offer to stay and work in the southern state of Chiapas.
“We were never told along the way that it would be this hard,” Gonzalez, 37, said after she saw the border wall topped with razor wire and the long waiting list for asylum seekers.
Roberto Corona, the founder of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said in the organization’s defense that attorneys along the way told the migrants they could be held in U.S. detention centers for months and possibly separated from their children. He said that ultimately the migrants — many of whom were escaping poverty and violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — made their own decision.
It’s very difficult to imagine that so many would pass up on Mexico’s offer unless they were coerced or flat-out lied to about the situation. After all, we’re told they are simply wanting to escape the horrible conditions they face in Central America, and while Mexico is not the United States, the much lower cost of living makes it a clear improvement over their former situation.
The organizers of the caravan weren’t really wanting to help these people. If they were, they wouldn’t have made them pass on Mexican asylum. This was about the politics of open borders, plain and simple. They’re using these people for a political statement.
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