🇭🇳🇺🇸 Honduran migrants are attempting to form a caravan similar to the 1 that reached the U.S. border in 2018 pic.twitter.com/npB6Ge6R66
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) January 17, 2020
Several hundred migrants left San Pedro Sula, Honduras this week and the numbers swelled as the caravan crossed into Guatemala, where scores walked along a highway and hitchhiked north with their eye on a new life in the United States.
#Breaking: Just in – #Guatemala police authorities are pushing a migrant caravan back towards #Honduras near the border of both countries. pic.twitter.com/enwo9cZXxu
— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) January 15, 2020
Honduran police fired tear gas at migrants who evaded check points with Guatemala as they marched toward Mexico, where officials have already promised not to grant transit visas. Mexico Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero told BBC a task force will work with each migrant individually to offer opportunities to stay in Mexico.
“Mexico is not only a transit country,” Cordero said. “In no way we have transit visas or safe passage.”
According to Fox News:
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told him that Mexico will not let the migrant caravan pass and would “do everything in their powers to stop the group.”
U.S. officials are sending the same message.
We’re closely monitoring the caravan departing Honduras. Our message is clear: don’t place your life in the hands of smugglers. Don’t risk the health and safety of your family on this dangerous trip.
— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) January 17, 2020
“We’re closely monitoring the caravan departing Honduras,” Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan posted to Twitter. “Our message is clear: don’t place your life in the hands of smugglers. Don’t risk the health and safety of your family on this dangerous trip.”
New Migrant Caravan On Its Way To The U.S. Border pic.twitter.com/PxEEvathxz
— The Daily Coverage (@TDCoverage) January 17, 2020
Morgan met Thursday with Honduran immigration officials.
Meanwhile, dozens of agents with the Department of Homeland Security are working with authorities in the Guatemalan town of Morales, where police set up a roadblock to thwart the caravan.
Reporters on the scene expect it will be successful.
So, a new migrant caravan is coming. Based on its current size and what I have learned right here reporting on the Guat-Mex border, the Mexican gov will be able to stop it and break it up with a combination of National Guard, federal and state police and interior road blocks. pic.twitter.com/kMgxDTW08b
— Todd Bensman (@BensmanTodd) January 16, 2020
“So, a new migrant caravan is coming,” Todd Bensman posted, along with pictures of the troops deploying in the area. “Based on its current size and what I have learned right here reporting on the Guat-Mex border, the Mexican gov will be able to stop it and break it up with a combination of Natural Guard, federal and state police and interior road blocks.”
Regardless, thousands that have already made it to Guatemala plan to move on to Mexico this weekend.
“Guatemala’s National Migration Institute said in a statement that at least 2,274 people had entered the country. Institute spokeswoman Alejandra Mena said the migrants had mostly crossed the northern part of the border with Honduras,” The Epoch Times reports.
“Some of the migrants shared communications on messaging service WhatsApp showing that some Hondurans had said they planned to meet in Guatemala’s northern town of Santa Elena and head for the Mexican border on Saturday.”
From there, the outlook is bleak.
“The truth is, it’s going to be impossible for the (migrants) to reach the US,” human rights activist Itsmania Platero told The Associated Press. “The Mexican police have a large contingent and they’re going to catch all the migrants without documents and they’ll be detained and returned to their home countries.”
If migrants actually make it to the U.S.-Mexico border, they’ll be forced to remain in Mexico while they wait out their asylum claims, a process that can take months.
As the caravan entered Guatemala on Wednesday, the Trump administration celebrated an agreement to pump $1 billion into the country’s private sector in hopes of creating jobs and opportunities there.
“Today’s memorandum of understanding is evidence of the United States’ commitment to partner with Guatemala to grow the economy, improve citizen security, and ensure transparent, accountable governance that supports human rights,” U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Luis E. Arreaga said.
“It offers a tool to grow the economy for all Guatemalans, particularly those in greatest economic need.”
“It’s a billion dollars of financing from us, which should catalyze about $4 billion,” Adam Boehler, chief executive of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation told Reuters Wednesday.
“The United States and Guatemala share a commitment to building a more prosperous, stable, and secure Western Hemisphere.
“The MOU signed by our two countries today—which will create meaningful economic opportunities and improve the lives of the Guatemalan people—represents a milestone in our cooperative efforts to achieve this common vision.”
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