A day before the Summit of the Americas was set to wrap up in Los Angeles, the migrant caravan that started in conjunction with the summit was significantly reduced on size. When the caravan began earlier this week, Reuters reported at least 6,000 people took part.
On Thursday, about 1,000 migrants decided to wait in the southern Mexican town of Huixtla to see if they could get some sort of temporary exit visa. The 1,000 people mostly included families with children.
That left only about 2,000 kept going from Huixtla. The 2,000 were made up of mainly younger male migrants.
“What am I supposed to do during these two months and a half until I get a visa? With this paper I can’t get a job anywhere,” Venezuelan migrant Yoyner Yanez said. “I just want to leave Mexico, I don’t want to stay in Mexico, more so to stay for two months and a half, how am I going to sustain myself?”
According to Adam Isacson, the Defense Oversight Director of the Washington Office on Latin America, the thinning of the migrant caravan is good for President Joe Biden as he wraps up the Summit of the Americas Friday.
“The Biden administration does not want images of 15,000 migrants distracting from the Summit of the Americas and becoming a big story,” Isacson said Thursday. “If humanitarian visas can make those images go away and make that distraction go away, maybe they won’t complain as loudly if it happens this time.”
Friday’s summit is expected to be highlighted by what might be the biggest accomplishment of the summit. On Thursday, President Biden dubbed it “the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.” It’s a series of principles that include:
- Legal pathways to enter countries
- Aid to communities most affected by migration
- Humane border management
- Coordinated emergency responses
“This will bring our nations together around a transformative new approach to invest in the region and solutions that embrace stability to increase opportunities for safe and orderly migration,” Biden said. “To crack down on criminals and human traffickers who prey on desperate people and coordinate specific, concrete actions to secure our borders and resolve the shared challenges.”