Migrant caravans linked to crisis in Central America, study says


The phenomenon of caravans of migrants will remain “for a long time” as the exodus of Central Americans from their countries is due to structural conditions that will change little in the short or medium term in these countries, according to a report, published Tuesday, on the crisis on Mexico’s border with the United States.

“(The phenomenon) evolves rapidly and is going to stay here among us for a long time,” said Oscar Contreras, academic secretary general of the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Colef), a think tank specializing in social sciences with focus on border issues, based in the border city of Tijuana.

“As long as the structural conditions for the exodus of migrants from the south (Central America) don’t change, there’s not much of a sign that it will change quickly, this is going to continue in one form or another,” he added.


Contreras also pointed out that Tijuana’s border situation, combined with other factors, makes it a “particularly sensitive city for this type of phenomenon”.

The study analyzed issues such as the visibility of the caravan, the census of migrants, social reactions in Tijuana and coordination and government strategy for handling the emergency.

Dolores Paris, of Colef’s department of cultural studies, said the total number of migrants who have entered Mexico since Oct. 19 “are numbers that seem impressive, but for those who study Central American migration, are not.”

Since 2015, Colef experts have calculated an annual flow of “more than 350,000 people” from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, so that the current number represents “only a very small fraction of the people who transit through Mexico” each year.

Paris explained that these caravans for the first time “are visible because migrants generally travel invisibly” and through clandestine and high-risk routes.

She explained that migration occurs due to factors such as generalized violence, human rights violations, environmental deterioration, natural disasters, climate change and political crises, such as that of Honduras, the main country where migrants are fleeing from in this case.