USAID Official Warns of ‘Caravan’ Style Rush of Illegal Immigration After Coronavirus

CIUDAD HIDALGO, MEXICO – OCTOBER 21: on October 21, 2018 in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico The caravan of thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, plans to eventually reach the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cancel the recent trade deal with Mexico and withhold aid to Central American countries if the caravan isn’t stopped before reaching the U.S. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development is warning of a possible rush of illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States, citing the economic damages inflicted upon the region by the coronavirus recession. John Barsa made the prediction in an interview with the Washington Examiner on last week.

If there is economic collapse in a given country, it is only natural that there will be migration flows to places where the economy is more robust,” warned Barsa. “Are we concerned about the economic impacts that this might have, which could lead to migration? Absolutely.”

The phenomenon Barsa is describing appears similar to the well-documented ‘caravan’ formations of economic migrants, who traveled through Mexico from Central America in pursuit of asylum in the United States in 2018.

Economic downturn in the region could very well result in a new wave of caravans, even though President Donald Trump has since instituted a “remain in Mexico” asylum policy that prevents illegal immigrants from entering the United States while their asylum cases are litigated in the immigration court system. Remain in Mexico has proven a game changer in deterring illegal immigration, with caravans having essentially ceased since 2018.

Another official of the Agency for International Development, which works to deter illegal immigration through grant assistance and foreign aid to Central American countries, has said that high levels of unemployment may dampen the possibility of mass illegal immigration. If large groups of illegal migrants arrived anyway, their presence in the United States could prove devastating to the job and wage prospects of blue-collar American workers reeling from the damage inflicted to the construction industry and others facets of the American economy from coronavirus.

How do you measure the number of refugees that come out of that level of devastation?” Warned the USAID official of the potential for mass illegal immigration as a result of the recession. “You can’t put a number on it, but it’s reasonable to say that it would be completely unprecedented.