The migrant passage

Migration from El Salvador towards the US has surged in recent months as measured by the number of Salvadorans apprehended at the US border.  To get to that border, migrants must cross Mexico where public attitudes and government policy have been changing rapidly, often to the detriment of migrants. 

Perils from Mexican immigration authorities were highlighted in a recent raid by police on a migrant caravan.   The raid was observed by AP reporters who described the scene in an article titled
Migrants fearful after hundreds arrested in Mexico raid
Mexican immigration authorities said 371 people were detained Monday in what was the largest single raid so far on a migrant caravan since the groups started moving through the country last year. 
The once large caravan of about 3,000 people was essentially broken up by the raid, as migrants fled into the hills, took refuge at shelters and churches or hopped passing freight trains. A brave few groups straggled along the highways, but with dozens of police and immigration checkpoints, they were bound to be caught. 
Journalists from The Associated Press saw police target isolated groups at the tail end of the caravan near Pijijiapan Monday, wrestling migrants into police vehicles for transport and presumably deportation as children wailed.
This raid was consistent with hardening governmental and public attitudes in Mexico as described by Alianza Americas, a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations:
A growing backlash in Chiapas awaits the arrival of thousands of migrants at Mexico’s southern border.  Rising xenophobia – particularly against Central Americans – has been driven by news reports, communications, and advisories distributed by local media, private businesses, and municipal governments.  These stories have perpetuated the myth that the arrival of migrant groups will lead to increased crime. 
A recent El Universal survey also shows that negative reactions to Central American migrants has significantly increased in the last six months. .... 
The collective for the Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in the South of Mexico, which has monitored the treatment of asylum-seekers and migrants since the large caravan in October 2018, has called for changes to the approach taken by the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in addressing migrants and asylum-seekers.  The collective’s press release raises particular concerns about the termination of humanitarian visas and the closing of National Institute of Migration (INM) offices in Tapachula, where migrants could previously apply for legal residency. The new Mexican administration has also increased the presence of enforcement officials from federal, state, and municipal police departments.  These actions have resulted in the detention and deportation of thousands of people. Detention is taking place in conditions of overcrowding with security and health risks for families and small children.
In thinking about the challenges for the current exodus of migrants headings from the Northern Triangle of Central America towards the US, I have been helped by the recently published book, The Migrant Passage: Clandestine Journeys from Central America, by Noelle Kateri Brigden.    The book looks at how migrants must use strategies of improvisation as they navigate the geographic, political and cultural terrain between Mexico's southern and northern border. 

Now, as presidents Donald Trump and Andrés Manuel López Obrador rapidly tilt and shift their respective policies for dealing with migrants, the migrants are forced to improvise even more as they seek asylum or just a safe place to rest their heads.