Thousands of Central Americans journeying toward the United States were 2,500 miles from their destination in October when they reached a moment of decision: Should they press on toward the US border? Or should they stop and put down roots in Mexico, where the government offered to let them stay? Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group of activists escorting the caravan, warned the migrants that the offer might be too good to be true and called a voice vote on whether to continue, the AP reports. "Let's keep going!" the crowd yelled amid applause. And they kept going. Thousands are now in Tijuana on the US border, where they are likely to be camped for months or longer with no easy way to get into the United States, creating what is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis in this overwhelmed city.
Many blame Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, made up of about 40 US and Mexican activists. Critics, including former allies and some of the migrants themselves, say Pueblo Sin Fronteras downplayed the dangers of such treks, especially for families and small children, and misled the participants about how long they would have to wait on the Mexican side to apply for asylum. One migrant now in Tijuana says she should have accepted Mexico's offer to stay and work there, but Pueblo Sin Fronteras founder Roberto Corona says attorneys told migrants they might be held in US detention centers and separated from their children. Yet criticisms continue: "There is no reason to make these inhumane journeys," says a Mexican priest recognized for his work with migrants. (The Supreme Court has dealt a blow to asylum-seekers.)