Over 1,000 Honduran migrants are headed to the U.S. border

Around 1,000 Hondurans joined a migrant caravan in a bid to be granted asylum in the U.S.

Over 1,000 Honduran migrants are headed to the U.S. border
U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized migrant caravans and launched aggressive immigration policies - Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP
English 01/10/2020 12:24 Newsroom Mexico City José Maléndez & Roselia Chaca Actualizada 12:29

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant caravans are out on the streets in a bid to arrive in the United States and be granted asylum. On September 30, around 1,000 Hondurans started their journey. 

The majority of migrants are from Honduras. According to journalist Orlando Escoto, the caravan is on its way to Corinto, close to Guatemala. 
 
The group gathered near a bus station in San Pedro Sula. Their goal was to start the journey by midnight and arrive in Guatemala, and then try to cross into Mexico; however, the migrants took another route and headed to Corinto.
 
Amid the pandemic, Guatemala reopened its borders on September 18 after they remained closed since March 13. 

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EL UNIVERSAL previously reported this caravan was organized through social media. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers called on Hondurans to leave the country on late September 30.

According to Itsmania Platero, a human rights activist based in Honduras, they are forced to abandon their country as a result of hunger, violence, and unemployment

She added experts believe the latest caravan will be massive, formed by people and families who hope to arrive in the U.S. as asylum seekers. 

In recent years, U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized migrant caravans and launched aggressive immigration policies to prevent them from legally establishing themselves in the U.S. Furthermore, the U.S. pushed Mexico to implement harsher measures to prevent Central American migrants from arriving at the border. 

According to the migrants, political repression, violence, crime, and the economic crisis have forced them to flee their countries.

Now that Guatemala opened its border with Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico, experts expect the arrival of large groups of migrants.
 
Recommended: Mexico deports hundreds of Central American migrants

Once they arrive at the Mexico-U.S. border, migrants are faced with harsh living conditions. Although some arrive at shelters, many others struggle to find accommodation and food. 
 
The first migrant caravan from Central America started its journey in October 2018. The last caravan attempted to cross into Mexico in January 2019; however, Mexico deployed the National Guard and the National Migration Institute to dismantle the group.

In 2019, EL UNIVERSAL reported the release of a document that confirms Central American migrants experience extortion, kidnappings, and rape in Mexico.
 
Last year, the Mixed Migration Centre released a report titled “Everyone’s prey: Kidnapping and extortionate detention in mixed migration.” The report shows alarming numbers and information and concludes that “Mexico arguably has the most extensive migrant kidnapping and extortion problem globally.”
 
According to the report, migrants experience extortion, kidnappings, illegal detentions, and sexual violence and that “some analysts have argued that an “epidemic of kidnapping in Mexico has been shaped in part by U.S. immigration policies and is linked to the impact of the war on drugs.”
 
Furthermore, female migrants are particularly vulnerable during their journey through Mexico: “Sexual abuse, torture, and killings are commonly reported, with some estimates claiming that 60 to 80 percent of all female migrants journeying through Mexico are raped and some forced into prostitution through trafficking.”
 
Nevertheless, there are other alarming situations: the abuses perpetrated against migrants are systematically underreported and ignored: “crimes against Central American migrants in Mexico – including kidnapping, rape, and murder – are among the most systematically underreported large-scale human rights violations in the Western Hemisphere.”
 
On the other hand, Mexican authorities often work for criminal groups, something that puts migrants at risk: “a majority (approximately 65 percent) of all kidnappings happened in southeast Mexico and about 11 percent of those interviewed reported that state officials “colluded with the kidnappers during the kidnapping incidents”.
 
The Mixed Migration Center is a leading source for independent and high-quality data, information, research, and analysis on mixed migration. Through the provision of credible evidence and expertise, the MMC aims to support agencies, policymakers, and practitioners to make well-informed decisions, to positively impact global and regional migration policies, to contribute to protection and assistance responses for people on the move, and to stimulate forward-thinking in the sector responding to mixed migration.
 
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