Darien Gap
Migrants crossing the Darien Gap AFP

Two caravans of migrants are attempting to reach the United States as they cross through Mexico, and another one is set to take off from Guatemala at the end of the month, according to Border Report.

The groups already on their way are comprised of 1,000 and 1,200 people from Central American countries, Venezuela and Haiti, the outlet said. They arrived in Puebla, south of Mexico City, on Wednesday.

Different migrants who spoke to local media said they are heading to the United States in hopes of settling there, but their trips come at a time of increased enforcement by both the Mexican and American administrations, which are seeking to reduce the amount of people reaching their shared border.

A report by NBC News last week showed that Mexico is stopping nearly three times as many migrants within its territory compared to the previous year. Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena has said the country committed to helping the U.S. reduce the flow of migrants to its southern border to 4,000 a day at most.

At the request of the U.S., the country is using military patrols and highway checkpoints, intercepting roughly 8,000 U.S.-bound migrants per day, according to officials from both countries.

There were fewer than 129,000 arrests in April at the national level, compared to 137,480 in March. It's also almost half of the almost 250,000 recorded in December, according to U.S. Customs and Border protection.

The Biden administration is also reportedly finalizing a new executive action that would allow the president to temporarily shut down the border if considered necessary, and is discussing this with Mexican authorities.

The presidential authority, known as Section 212 (f), would let the president unilaterally "suspend the entry" of specific groups of migrants when the number of attempted crossings is deemed to large. The government expects to implement the measure in June and is seeking Mexico's cooperation.

The White House is also set to introduce other measures to reduce immigration. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that one of the changes would be aimed at speeding up the processing and potential removal of migrants through the asylum system.

Concretely, the change would allow for certain migrants to be processed through the asylum system rather than be sent to the back of the line, the outlet said, citing four people familiar with the issue.

The potential decision comes just a week after another change allowing authorities to bar migrants from getting asylum within days, or even hours, rather than the years it can take at the moment. The rule could target people considered national security risks.

Other rules under consideration are a sweeping presidential authority that allows him to "suspend the entry" of foreigners when it is determined that their arrival is not in the best interest of the country; and the ability to turn asylum seekers away if they cross illegally. Making it harder for asylum-seekers to pass the first interview to determine whether they can stay in the country is also under review.

Senate Democrats have also revived a bipartisan border security bill and holding a vote on it, possibly aimed at giving Biden rhetorical cover to implement the unilateral measures following a likely new rejection of the bill by Republicans.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.