South American caravan swells as it heads to the United States border

Elias Hubbard
October 19, 2018

The same sort of march occurred in April, when some 1,500 people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador marched to the US border.

As many as 2,000 Hondurans fleeing their home country entered Guatemala on Monday, the Associated Press reported, in what is the first step in a journey they hope leads across the USA southern border.

President Trump has expressed frustration with Democrats for refusing to reform immigration laws, a critical political issue in the midterm elections.

When the migrants arrive at Mexico's southern border, "the migration personnel will review compliance with the legal requirements, and those who do not comply, will not be allowed entry", the National Institute of Migration, the government's migration agency, said in a statement Tuesday.

The migrants are fleeing widespread poverty and gangland violence in one of the world's most murderous countries, and many blame Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for what they call unlivable conditions back home. Congress has both rejected proposed steep cuts to Central America first proposed by the administration, as well as declining to tackle the contentious border wall issue in a spending bill that kept the government running in September.

The group more than doubled in size from Saturday, when it set off from northern Honduras in what has been dubbed the "March of the Migrant", an organizer said.

On Tuesday, Pence tweeted that he had spoken with Hernandez, the Honduran president.

Pence concluded that he reiterated President Donald Trump's warning that future aid is contingent on the caravan being stopped. Honduran police and soldiers were posted on their side of the border preventing other migrants from trying to catch up to the caravan.

"What Trump says doesn't interest us", Fuentes said.

He was traveling with hordes of men, women and children, packs in hand, walking northward on a Guatemalan highway about 55 miles (89 km) from the border with Honduras.

Fuentes was to be taken to a migrant shelter in Guatemala's capital and then deported. But he did not follow through on a similar threat to cut aid to Honduras in April over an earlier caravan, which eventually petered out in Mexico.

The U.S. sent more than $152 million to Honduras in the 2016 fiscal year, the most recent for which funding has been fully reported online. Reiterated @POTUS' message: "no more aid if it's not stopped!"

Sixteen-year-old Karla Maldonado said she joined her cousin in the caravan to seek a better life.

Guatemala said in a statement on Sunday that it did not promote or endorse "irregular migration".

"Spoke with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales about caravan heading for the U.S. and made clear our borders and sovereignty must be maintained".

Since 2014, the United States has committed $2.6 billion in aid for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The U.S. president and his conservative allies have warned that migrants bring rampant crime and drugs, despite studies that have shown immigration has little effect on crime rates.

She said that "some in the United States will be quick to raise alarms about a supposed risky immigrant invasion" and that "others will view these migrants with compassion and as further evidence of the need for comprehensive immigration reform".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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