Apr 19, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: Sen. Elizabeth Warren just became the first Democratic 2020 candidate to call for President Trump's impeachment.

1 big thing: How social media fuels migrant caravans

Central American migrants moving in a caravan to the U.S. board buses. Photo: Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images

It's worth pausing for a minute this afternoon to take a look at how migrant caravans became so ubiquitous, so fast.

Why it matters: Those caravans provide the protection of numbers and eliminate many of the dangers and costs associated with hiring smugglers, Axios' Stef Kight notes.

  • And they've become a popular and strategically orchestrated method of migration for Central Americans in search of safety or a better life in the U.S. — a phenomenon spurred by social media, the AP reports.

Between the lines: The "caravans" began primarily as protests a few years ago. Very few members of the original caravans actually made it to the U.S. border.

  • But last fall — amid the Trump administration's ongoing immigration crackdown — hundreds of Central Americans actually arrived at the U.S. border.
  • Ever since, smaller "caravans" have been setting off from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
  • Social media is the engine: They are often advertised on Facebook and organized through WhatsApp group chats, the AP reports, where migrants make plans, give advice and communicate with loved ones. It's unclear who — if ever the same people — head up the operation.

A look inside a caravan WhatsApp chat, as reported by the AP:

  • "Group, in Mexico can you find someone to take you to the other side?"
  • "What papers do I need for my kids?"
  • "Remember that in Mexico there are a lot of kidnappings.”
  • "This dude works with the Zetas, a friend of mine from Olancho told me he knows him and that he’s still with them." Sent with a photo of an alleged criminal.
  • "There are no coordinators, that’s what people have to say so there aren’t problems."
  • "Another is leaving April 30, Salvadoran friends."

The bottom line: Social media continues to transform our world — mobilizing anti-government uprisings, a new brand of celebrity, fake news and even effective, new methods of mass migration.

Bonus: Guess who?
Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Answer at bottom.

2. Interactive du jour
Screenshot: Axios Visuals

The Axios Visuals team pored over the Mueller report and categorized each passage of the text to note what events, people, organization and places are mentioned.

  • We ended up categorizing over 2,500 bits of text, and found over 400 unique entities.
  • How it works: Want to see how many times former White House counsel Don McGahn pops up? Or the part where Mueller tosses the ball to Congress? Use the search tool and you can find anything you need. (Except the redacted parts. Sorry.)

Dive in.

3. What you missed
  1. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to obtain the unredacted Mueller report. Details.
  2. Trump called some statements provided by witnesses in the Mueller report "total b*llshit" in a series of tweets this morning.
  3. The 2019 flu season has spanned 21 weeks, making it among the longest running stretch for the illness since the government began keeping track over 20 years ago, the AP reports.
  4. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is still considering a 2020 presidential bid after confirming that he has been issued a clean bill of health following prostate cancer surgery, NBC reports.
  5. A new post-storm analysis of Hurricane Michael — which wreaked havoc on the Florida panhandle last October — has reclassified the weather event to Category 5, the top of the scale, according to the National Hurricane Center.
4. 1 person to know: Lyra McKee

Photo: Family photo/PSNI via AP

Lyra McKee, 29, "was a journalist who brought her whole being into everything she did, including her work," Axios' Ina Fried writes.

  • "Yesterday, she was killed in Derry, Northern Island while covering a riot in what police are calling a terrorist attack."
  • "McKee, 29, was an editor at Techmeme sister site Mediagazer and an up-and-coming investigative journalist working on a book due out next year."
  • "She was a proud member of the LGBTQ community and an even prouder aunt."

Go deeper:

Mike Allen

P.S. Those feet belong to Beto.