A new migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.

At least 1,500 Hondurans are planning to travel through South America and Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S.

A new migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.
Mexico has toughened its immigration policies since the Trump administration threatened the country with new tariffs - Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP
English 15/01/2020 15:21 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City José Meléndez, Reuters Actualizada 18:16
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Today, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico and Guatemala will hold bilateral talks on migration once the new Guatemalan government led by Alejandro Giammattei has become familiar with “the situation.”

Ebrard made the comment on Twitter after holding what he described as a “cordial” meeting with Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, who took office on Tuesday.

However, Marcelo Ebrard allegedly told the Guatemalan government that a caravan of migrants heading towards the United States from Honduras would not be allowed to enter Mexico, new Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said today.

Mexicans grow weary of Central American migrant caravans

“Today in the conversation with foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard we asked about that caravan,” Giammattei said after meeting the Mexican minister. “The Mexican government told us that they won’t let it pass (...) that they will do everything in their powers to stop it from passing,” he added.

Today, EL UNIVERSAL reported that around 1,500 undocumented Honduran immigrants started their long journey to the U.S.

The migrant caravan is planning to cross from Honduras to Guatemala and then to travel to the border between Mexico and Guatemala by bus.

Mexican National Guard blocks US-bound migrant caravan

According to local journalist Iolany Pérez, “there are a lot of youngsters between 16 and 30 on this caravan but there are also girls and boys as young as one. (…) They are underage women and men and adults that say they are leaving for the U.S. because there are no jobs in Honduras.”
 

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Photo: Esteban Biba/EFE

Pérez added that she saw “entire families with small children and there is a strong police and military presence.”

This caravan plans to use public transport and in smaller groups in order to reach their destination more quickly.

In recent months, Mexico has toughened its immigration policies since the Trump administration threatened the country with new tariffs if it didn’t stop the flow of Central American immigrants who were trying to cross into the U.S.

In 2018, hundreds of migrants went missing in Mexico

After it was revealed that a new migrant caravan left Honduras, Mexico’s Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero said the federal government will not issue travel documents for the Central American immigrants who are part of the new migrant caravan and who are looking to reach the U.S. through Mexico.

The minister said, “there’s no way we will have transit visas or travel documents, there will be special operations and of course there will be immigration officers.”

Sáchez Codero said she will meet with federal officials such as Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard to create a strategy to help the people who have formed the first migrant caravan of 2020.

However, Mexico’s Interior Minister said that if immigrants want to stay in Mexico, they will have different options:

“If they want Mexico to welcome them for asylum, as refugees, or if they want to come with a certain migration status to work, study, be part of a social program (…) or some other alternatives, if they want to obtain a migration status we will gladly help them.”

Olga Sánchez added that “Mexico is not only a transit country that issues travel documents, but it’s also a country that opens its doors to welcome the people who want to enter and migrate to our country.”

The Central American migrants, some traveling in groups as small as a dozen people while others formed caravans of more than 100, said they planned to unite at the Guatemalan border city of Tecun Uman before crossing together into Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government was monitoring the situation as the migrants approached, saying there were 4,000 jobs available on the southern border, as well as shelters and medical help.

“We are keeping an eye on everything,” López Obrador said during a regular press conference.

López Obrador did not say if Mexico would seek to keep the migrants in the southern part of the country. Most Central Americans who leave their countries escaping poverty and violence are eager to make their way towards the United States.

Under U.S. pressure, Mexican security forces have increasingly broken up large groups as they head north.

About a thousand migrants entered Guatemala on Thursday, with local officials busing some of the migrants back to the Honduran border to fill out official paperwork, said Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s migration institute.

“We haven’t returned people from Guatemala and we have a total of about 3,543 people who have so far crossed the border,” Mena said.

At least 600 Honduran migrants spent the night under tents in a shelter in Guatemala City on Thursday night, sleeping on mattresses.

“Now we have more experience, and we know how to treat them,” said Father Mauro Verzeletti, director of the Migrant House shelter in Guatemala City.

Last July, Guatemala’s former President Jimmy Morales agreed with the U.S. government to implement measures aimed at reducing the number of asylum claims made in the United States by migrants fleeing Honduras and El Salvador, averting Trump’s threat of economic sanctions.

New leader Giammattei said a top priority would be reviewing the text of migration agreements made with the United States.

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