December 28, 2023

This will be the last Daily Border Links post until January 2, unless events demand otherwise. Best wishes for a happy holiday.


Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas led a U.S. government delegation that met with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador yesterday for two and a half hours in Mexico City. The main topic was the large number of migrants currently crossing Mexico and arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Mayorkas called the meeting “productive.” Neither country’s officials announced resulting policy changes, though López Obrador made a vague reference to “important agreements.” An unnamed senior administration official told CNN that there was agreement on “the need to really crack down on the smugglers that are putting migrants on buses, putting migrants on trains. We’ve seen that really contribute to the increase that we’ve seen at the border and just in recent weeks.” The Wall Street Journal observed that “The U.S. has spent months trying to persuade Mexico to allow the State Department to process refugees in Mexico” and that Mexico may be willing to accept expelled migrants “if it ultimately lowers the number of migrants attempting the journey.”

“We were really impressed by some of the new actions that Mexico is taking, and we have seen in recent days a pretty significant reduction in border crossings,” the official said, according to Agénce France Presse. U.S. authorities apprehended about 6,000 migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border on December 26, down from an average of 9,600 per day earlier this month. Despite the recent drop, it appears likely that December will break Border Patrol’s record for most migrant apprehensions in a month.

With very little advance warning, officials in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, across from Brownsville, Texas, forcibly dismantled a year-old tent encampment that was still housing about 200 migrants, many of them awaiting CBP One appointments. The city’s shelters are already saturated. “About 70 migrants flung themselves into the river Tuesday night and crossed into the U.S.,” the Associated Press reported. “They remained trapped for hours along the riverbank beneath the layers of concertina wire set up by orders of the Texas governor.”

A “migrant caravan” that began near the Mexico-Guatemala border on Christmas Eve has covered about 50 miles of Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas. The “caravan’s” numbers are dwindling as exhaustion sets in: from at least 7,500 from about 24 nationalities, to about 3,000 now. Rather than attempt to walk all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border, participants are mainly petitioning Mexican migratory authorities to give them “a document with which we can remain in the country,” one of the caravan’s principal organizers said.

Though Congress is out of session until January 8, the small group of senators negotiating a possible Ukraine aid-for-asylum-restrictions deal has resumed meeting, virtually, as of December 27.

Guatemala’s migration agency reported having expelled 23,711 northbound irregular migrants back into Honduras between January 1 and December 25, including at least 16,931 Venezuelans, 1,644 Ecuadorians, 1,558 Haitians, 907 Colombians, and 907 Hondurans.

New York Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order that would issue criminal misdemeanor charges against bus companies—especially those contracted by Texas’s state government—that deliver migrants at non-approved hours and without giving city authorities at least 32 hours of advance notice. The measure “comes after 14 busloads of migrants arrived from Texas in a single night last week, the highest total recorded since the spring of 2022,” the New York Times reported.

Analyses and Feature Stories

According to Colombia’s attorney-general’s office, the BBC reported, migrants are avoiding the Darién Gap by paying “between $1,500 and $5,000 for ‘tourist packages’ that include permission to enter the island and transportation in clandestine boats from San Andres to the port of Bluefields in Nicaragua.” The trip is at least as deadly as the Darién.

The Associated Press pointed out that the Texas state government’s campaign of arresting thousands of migrants, among other border security measures, has not deterred people from crossing the border irregularly into the state.

Lengthy analyses in two principal U.K. papers, the Financial Times and the Guardian, looked at the border and migration situation’s political impact as the 2024 election campaign year begins.

On the Right

Tags: News Links