President Donald Trump is attempting to prevent an estimated 5,000 Honduran migrants from making their way through Mexico to reach the United States. This past Thursday, Trump threatened to close the southern U.S. border and send the military if Mexico fails to stop the migrant caravan.
Additionally, he said the U.S. will start withholding foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador for their failure to stop people from leaving their country and making their way north. An agreement between the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua allows citizens of these Central American countries to cross borders without a passport.
However, migrants continue to defy threats by Trump, recently setting up camp in the Mexican border city of Tapachula on Sunday. A week ago, roughly six hundred migrants first gathered in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A few days later, the caravan heading toward Mexico grew to nearly 4,000 people. Mexican authorities had attempted to stop their journey at a border bridge, but some still found a way to illegally cross over the Suchiate River by boat.
Tensions between the citizens and the government reached a boiling point after alleged corruption occurred during the presidential election last year, resulting in violent protests which led to 23 fatalities and 60 injuries. Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world and was named the most dangerous country for environmental activists in 2017.
Migrants set off toward Mexico to flee persecution, violence and poverty, and obtain asylum in the United States. Throughout their journey, they have turned down medical aid and offers of bus rides to remain a strong unit and avoid being detained and deported.
One of the main objectives of the current administration is to curb illegal immigration. Trump blames the Democrats for the mass migration toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has reached out to the United Nations to help process the caravan to figure out whether their asylum claims are valid or should be sent back to their home countries. The president’s successor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is set to assume office in December, promised to provide work visas to refugees, granting them the freedom to remain in Mexico.