With their eyes on Texas, a massive new migrant caravan is underway in southern Mexico. It's the largest of 2022 and—thanks in part to Mexican government accommodations—it might soon be the biggest one on record.
Many previous caravans have crumbled in sometimes-violent confrontations with National Guard troops, or upon reaching internal checkpoints where migrants are prevented from crossing Mexican state borders for lack of visas.
However, caravan organizer Luis Villigran told Fox News the Mexican government has committed to start issuing 1,000 temporary work visas a day to the migrants he's leading northward.
That will certainly ease migrants' progress. At the same time, by authorizing migrants to work in Mexico's northern states—where employment opportunities are more plentiful than in the south—the visas give migrants some reason to stay south of the U.S. border.
With numbers already estimated at 12,000 or more, the caravan departed the far-southwest Mexico border city of Tapachula on Monday, blocking multiple highway lanes as it began a thousand-mile journey to the Texas border. Organizers plan to make most of the trek by traveling along Mexico's eastern coast.
The caravan includes people from a variety of countries, with Venezuelans reportedly representing a large share. Venezuela's struggle to rebound from disastrous economic policies is made harder by U.S. sanctions that are meant to punish the regime but which end up making innocent citizens miserable—and encouraging migration to the United States.
Villagran claims nearly 70% of the caravan are women and children, but photos in news accounts frequently depict crowds of adult males.
The caravan's departure coincides with the Summit of the Americas that Biden is hosting in Los Angeles this week. On Friday, summit participants are expected to sign a declaration about migration.
The agreement may call for more pathways to legal status, mechanisms to reunite families, more efficient and humane border controls and improved information sharing, according to experts who have seen early drafts.
Biden excluded Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua from the summit, which prompted the leaders of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—key countries in the ongoing mass migration dilemma— to skip the summit themselves. Their absence guarantees the summit will be a dud.