A group of 3,000-4,000 Honduran migrants arrived Friday at the border of Guatemala and Mexico.
When the migrants were told that only 100-200 people would be allowed to enter each day, they tore down a border fence and attacked police with bottles and rocks. Pregnant woman and children were pushed to the front of the group.
The caravan is believed to have formed in San Pedro Sula (a violent city in northwest Honduras) earlier this month when a group of 200 people agreed on social media to travel to the US together. The group quickly grew in size as more and more people saw an opportunity to travel to the US without paying a smuggler.
“We just want to seek a better future,” says Dania López, 30, a single mother with three kids. “In Honduras, you work to survive and that’s not a worthy life.”
Last week, President Trump threatened to use military force if Mexico fails to stop the “onslaught” of migrants from reaching the border. He also threatened to abandon NAFTA 2.0, halt payments to Guatemala and El Salvador, and shut down the southern border.
“The assault on our country…including the criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as president, than trade or the USMCA,” tweeted Trump.
Mexico responded by offering to grant asylum to the entire caravan and has appealed to the UN for help reviewing asylum claims.
Individuals deemed to have legitimate claims will be sent to a host country – which could be the US or any other country that has an agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Individuals without a valid claim will be deported.
Migrants who evade authorities in Mexico and apply for asylum in the US will have to prove they are fleeing persecution to qualify for asylum. But as security analysts have pointed out, most of these migrants are not fleeing persecution; they are looking for a better life or trying to reconnect with family members living illegally in the US.
Trump’s harsh rhetoric about the caravan has infuriated Democrats and energized Republicans ahead of midterms. His words are expected to have the biggest impact on independent voters, who could side with either party on immigration.
On Thursday, Newt Gingrich predicted the election would come down to two words: Kavanaugh and caravan.
“This caravan brings into stark contrast and just really highlights some of the things Trump is fighting for when it comes to border security,” said Travis Korson, a Republican who works at Madison Strategies consulting firm.
Editor’s note: This is not about desperation. This is about opportunity. They are headed to the U.S. to get the equivalent of $200 per hour, compared to an $8 dollar minimum wage. Ironically, these are people who are willing to risk all to seek a better life and are likely the kind of immigrants we want to come into America. However, if we allow these immigrants to come into the U.S. it will open the floodgates for illegal immigrants who will pile against our border, and become a massive humanitarian crisis (which we will have to pay to solve).
By contrast, the folks moving from Venezuela to Colombia, were fleeing less horrific circumstances than can be found in the slums of Honduras, but they were more desperate.