Every day for the last two months in the town of McAllen, at the border between Mexico and the United States, the Border Patrol receives at least 400 new migrants with hopes of gaining asylum. The majority of Central Americans arrive at the border between the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and Texas, and the first assistance they receive after their long journey is in a Catholic hospitality center a few meters beyond the borderline. Many people have relatives living in the United States, and many others hope to be granted asylum because they are fleeing from more violent Central American countries: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. However, most have little hope to remain and will be deported to their country of origin.
Within the last six months, Border Patrol agents have apprehended 240,000 migrants, 30 percent more than in the previous period, with a significant increase after Donald Trump was elected on Nov. 8. Even if the majority of the migrants escape from the poverty and violence in their countries—the Wall Street Journal writes—the main factor that has provoked the increase of the flow in the last few months has been the election of Trump. In November alone, the number of migrants apprehended at the border reached nearly 50,000—44 percent more than November 2015—with more than half of those coming through the area surrounding McAllen. The new president, who will enter the White House on Jan. 20, focused his campaign efforts on the topic of immigration by threatening to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants, promoting the construction of new walls, and promising to put a brake on the arrival of other undocumented immigrants. So it has become a race against time that threatens to turn into a new humanitarian crisis. Human rights organizations have denounced the efforts of “coyotes”—those who organize the journeys of migrants in exchange for money—to convince people to accelerate their escape plans following the election of Trump by arguing that starting at the end of January it will become increasingly difficult.
Aside from Central America, migration from Cuba has also been increasing. Again, the reason is the election of Trump. Cubans worry that the law that allows them to easily obtain political asylum in the United States may be done away with. Since the beginning of 2016, it is estimated that at least 90,000 Cubans have illegally left the island to take refuge in the U.S. The route chosen by most is through Mexico. They arrive by plane in Panama, one of the few countries where they can go without a visa, and then travel up through Central America by joining caravans of migrants traveling north. When they arrive at the border they are the lucky ones: they just show their Cuban passport for an instant start on political asylum paperwork.