Sunday was a kinetic day for the migrant caravans heading toward the U.S. border. In the morning, about 4,000 people from the lead caravan were in Tapanatepec in southern Mexico, resting for the day. Unfortunately, the rest stop turned violent.
Municipal security chief Raul Medina Melendez in the town of Tapanatepec says that some in the crowd grew upset when a man with a megaphone urged them to line up and wait their turn for sandwiches and water the town was distributing late Saturday.
He says some began to attack him and he fled down a street. A false rumor spread that the man had grabbed a child for protection from the attackers.
The assailants caught and beat him, but police intervened and he was treated at a hospital.
On Friday this group had been blocked near the town of Arriaga, just to the south of Tapanatepec, by a police barricade. Mexican authorities halted them there to make the offer of asylum, jobs, and an array of social assistance programs.
As Howard Portnoy reported yesterday, the migrants rejected the offer of asylum. Mexican human rights observers urged the government to let them pass, stating that the conditions where they were being blocked were basically inhumane. On Saturday, the police broke the barricade and retreated.
On Sunday afternoon, the second caravan from Honduras, which has been making its way through Guatemala, reached the border with southern Mexico, where it sought to cross from Tecun Uman to Ciudad Hidalgo on the Mexican side.
A group of men in the vanguard of the second caravan shouted and argued with the Mexican border guard, which was urging them to move any families in the group to the front, and request entry in an orderly manner.
The men at the front began to throw rocks, and rushed to attack the border gate. According to news media on-scene, the attacking men broke down a gate and at least 100 of them were able to push through it. An unknown number of people were injured in the resulting scuffle.
A 26-year-old Honduran migrant reportedly died of a head injury, which some outlets are saying was the result of being hit by a rubber bullet from the Mexican guards.
A 26 Yr old Honduran male dies during the confrontations. Guatemalan EMS representative claims the head injury suffered by the Honduran could have been caused by a rubber bullet.https://t.co/Xi6s2OKCY7
— Arturo Guajardo (@onegenius2) October 29, 2018
Local reporting on social media included videos of the border attack. (H/t: Breitbart)
There are reported to be as many as 3,500 people in the second caravan (some estimates are lower).
Meanwhile, a caravan is setting out from El Salvador. This third caravan is reportedly launching with about 300 people in it, although some outlets are said to estimate the group at 500.
One young man held up a handy, professionally printed map of migrant routes through Central America and Mexico for a photo op.
— Amndré Rentería (@Amndre) October 28, 2018
The Pentagon is deploying equipment and gear to the border in advance of the 800 additional troops being ordered to join the 2,100 already there. One of the preparations being made is moving jersey barriers to the likely crossing points.
At the moment, the military troops are being dispatched solely for logistical support to the Border Patrol. Clearly, however, the Border Patrol by itself won’t be able to mount the entire response if there is a coordinated, asymmetric attack by the migrants at the border. Presumably any tactical border defense effort will be coordinated between the U.S. and Mexico; we can reasonably hope that no situation will deteriorate into the use of “military” style force against lightly-armed migrants.
(They may be lightly armed, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hurt anyone. No soldier or Border Patrolman is obliged, and none should be, to simply accept injury or death from flying rocks, or small arms the migrants may be carrying surreptitiously, because of an asymmetric force situation. That said, not one of the men and women in uniform at the border wants to kill people. It is unconscionable of anyone to egg this migrant caravan on and urge its members to confront the U.S. at the border. Setting our protectors up to have to make life-or-death decisions in this gratuitously unnecessary situation is shameful.)
HHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen once again on Sunday advised migrant heading for the border: “Do not come.” She and other U.S. authorities have been urging them to go to the U.S. consulates in Mexico and apply for asylum there. (Although technically, by rejecting asylum in Mexico, they have already clarified that they are not asylum-seekers.)
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: "My general message to this caravan is do not come. You will not be allowed in." pic.twitter.com/gaf96uVULH
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) October 28, 2018
President Trump, meanwhile, will reportedly announce a plan on Tuesday, which is thought to include suspending entry of aliens (foreigners) for national security purposes. This would presumably be on a limited basis, but will not be without challenges from leftist judges.