Members of the illegal immigrant caravan chanted “si se pudo!” as they made their way north through Mexico Monday, having defied the will of one country and vowing to test the spine of another, the U.S., very soon.
The chant, which translates roughly as “Yes we could,” is a takeoff on the “Si se puede” — Yes we can! — cheer that immigrant-rights activists have used for years, and which the Obama campaign co-opted in 2008.
Mexican police, who failed to stop them at that country’s border with Guatemala, now serve as escorts for the caravan as it barrels north, its members clear that they have no intention of staying in Mexico, and have eyes only for the U.S.
New estimates cited by El Universal, a Mexican newspaper, say the caravan now has 14,000 people, many of them already in Mexico while others still wait
One woman quoted by BBC, identified as Maria, walking with her husband and two children, said they are looking for work.
That would put them in the category of illegal migrants, not asylum-seekers. Yet many appear confident they can take advantage of lax U.S. laws to gain a foothold in the shadows.
President Trump, who’s been unable to win changes to U.S. laws, has pressured Honduras — the source of most of this caravan’s members — as well as Guatemala and Mexico, which the caravan must travel through to reach the U.S., to do more.
“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” the president said on Twitter.
It’s not clear what he’ll be able to do.
Congress has appropriated tens of millions of dollars in American aid for each of those countries, and in draft spending bills has even raised the amount for 2019, compared to what Mr. Trump had requested.