15,000-Strong Immigrant Caravan Makes Its Way North As Biden Prepares For Summit Of The Americas

migrant caravan
ProtoplasmaKid, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

It is estimated that a so-called migrant caravan of 15,000 is making its way from Tapachula on the Mexico-Guatemala border to the United States this week.

The last count had the caravan at 11,000, but it is expected to grow as they make their way north.

This caravan is on its way despite a federal judge’s decision to uphold Title 42, a pandemic-related public health policy to restrict the number of people coming across the border that the Biden administration had been planning to lift. 

The timing is also of note due to this week’s Summit of the Americas, hosted by the Biden administration in Los Angeles.

The Summit is meant to discuss various things but undoubtedly immigration will be on the forefront of the agenda. Still, the President faces considerable hurdles in getting any actual results among them controversy over who is and isn’t going to the Summit.

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Who Didn’t Get Invited?

The Biden administration did not extend an invitation to three countries for the Summit; Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. According to a representative, the decision was made because these three countries have a ‘lack of democratic space’ in their governments.

This prompted Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador to announce that he would not be attending personally due to the exclusion of these countries, opting instead to send a representative. Still, the lack of the actual President’s attendance, in protestation, is a blow to the administration.

Since we are taking notes, three other countries are opting to send representatives in their President’s stead for the same reasons; Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are considered the countries that make up the Northern Triangle, a primary source of illegal immigration to the United States.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who was assigned the role of immigration czar, met with the Presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like she made much of a connection.  

Is It A Summit of the Americas Without a Fair Chunk of the Americas?

President Lopez Obrador of Mexico took issue with the administration’s exclusion of specific countries and said of the Summit:

“There can’t be a Summit of the Americas if all the countries of the continent don’t participate.”

He went on to scold:

“That would be to continue with the old interventionist policy of lack of respect for nations and their people.”

It’s hard to think that there will be much forward momentum on finding solutions to the problems facing our hemisphere – most notably immigration – with one of the significant leaders opting out.

Former Mexican Foreign Ministry official Vanessa Rubio Marquez stated:

“The Summit of the Americas is a reflection of a polarized hemisphere where there is a great deal of fragmentation, polarization and populism.”

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Who Is Attending?

In an interesting turn of events, the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has decided to attend despite rumors that he would not. His agreement came with a bonus where he said President Biden’s election win was “suspicious.”

To say these two are unlikely to come to any actual agreement on anything is an understatement. President Bolsonaro is an avid supporter of former President Trump and generally sits on the polar opposite on issues with the Biden administration.

Oliver Stuenkler, a Professor at the FGV think tank in Sao Paulo, said of their relationship:

“The relationship is beyond repair. Washington and Brasilia basically disagree on the big issues of the day, from climate change and Amazon deforestation to democracy and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

So why attend? President Bolsonaro is running for reelection. Like many things in politics, this appears to be a power play—a way to show that he may be more influential than the leader of the free world.

I’m also guessing the Biden administration is okay with his attendance because empty seats make for poor photo opportunities.

Diplomatic Hypocrisy

President Biden is slotted to visit Saudi Arabia in July to discuss, among other things, the gas price crisis we face. While on the campaign trail, candidate Biden had said of Saudi Arabia that he would make them into a pariah.

The tough talk resulted from alleged involvement Saudi in the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a lackluster record regarding human rights.

The President has taken some heat for this plan to meet with Saudi Arabia. However, his office has come out to defend the decision. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of the upcoming visit:

“…the President considers Saudi Arabia an important partner on a host of regional and global strategies, including other efforts to end the war in Yemen, contain Iran and counterterrorism.”

So what changed? Nothing, Saudi Arabia has been a ‘partner’ for decades, and as David Ottaway, a Middle East Fellow at the Wilson Center, states poignantly:

“Foreign Policy, despite high principles, tends to be dictated by events on the ground.”

So let’s talk about what is happening on the ground.

RELATED: Report: Congresswoman Alleges Biden Admin Shipping Free Baby Formula To Illegal Immigrants

Events On the Ground

Many in the caravan headed our way came from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. If Title 42 gets lifted, the Department of Homeland Security estimates that 18,000 migrants will come to the border per day.

With border resources considered at capacity when there are 5,000 migrants in one day, it’s safe to say that events on the ground are about to get even more dire than before. 

Press Secretary Jean-Pierre went on to say of the President’s trip to Saudi Arabia:

“As I’ve said, the President will meet with any leader if it serves the interests of the American people. That’s what he puts first.”

Unless it has to do with the border, then he cares about ‘democratic spaces.’

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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