Migrant Caravan Approaching U.S./Mexico Border

Andres Rincon, Author

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A caravan of approximately 7,000 migrants is on its way to the United States. This caravan is mostly comprised of Central American migrants, primarily migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, all with the expressed goal of safety and opportunity.

“I spent four months hidden,” said Edwin Enrique Jimenez Flores, a truck driver. He faced death threats in Honduras after calling the police on a gang that attacked his brother. “I couldn’t even go into the street. I can’t go back.”

The migrants’ journey has had many political implications. President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down the border connecting the U.S. and Mexico, which will disrupt many legal freights as well as vehicle and pedestrian crossings.   President Trump has also said he will cut aid for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador for not stopping the migrants, tweeting on October 22: “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s incoming foreign minister, advised Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as to what to do next. “It would be inadmissible in Mexico to use the army against these people,” said Ebrard, referring to U.S. pressures to stop the caravan’s progress.

On October 27, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the refugee protection program “Estás en tu casa.” This plan protects the Central American migrants as long as they comply with Mexican laws, providing them with medical care, work permits, housing in local hostels, and schooling for children. The president has yet to announce what happens if the migrants don’t comply with Mexican laws.

Because of its unprecedented size, this caravan has had more news coverage than previous, similar groups. Previous caravans were usually sponsored by non-profit groups like Pueblo Sin Fronteras. They also averaged about 1,600 migrants, whereas this caravan has approximately 7,000 people, according to the United Nations.  

The caravan has not stopped its trek to the U.S., and the migrants involved don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Sila Noemi Felix, 45, hopes to join family in Rogers, Kansas. She took a bus from Guatemala with her 13-year-old son, who is a U.S citizen. “I want a better future for him,” she said.