The new migrant caravan coming up from Honduras that we reported on on January 10 is underway, the government of Mexico confirmed Wednesday. Mexico’s Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero told the BBC that 600 migrants had left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and entered Guatemala to the north. (Other sources estimate the number closer to 1000.) Some migrants who attempted to enter that country by evading official checkpoints were fired upon with tear gas by Guatemalan police.
One caravan member, Walter Martinez, 18, of Honduras, was setting out for the second time to reach the U.S. Five years ago, he said, his family paid a smuggler to get him there. He was eventually deported back to his home country in November.
Fox News reports that ICE officials are in both Guatemala and Mexico advising authorities there on handling the caravan and how to educate the migrants on the dangers of continuing their quest. Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, met with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, and announced that Mexico would “do everything in their powers to stop” the group.
If the caravan is to be stopped before reaching the U.S. border, it does appear that it will be Mexico that stops it. The country has deployed deployed National Guard troops to its southern border, and Interior Minister Cordero promised that all migrants would be checked and that no tourist visas would be granted. Those interested in applying for asylum in Mexico would be welcome to do so, she said.
Human rights activist Itsmania Platero agreed that the caravan had little hope of achieving its goal. “The truth is, it is going to be impossible for them to reach the United States,” she said. “The Mexican police have a large contingent and they are going to catch all the migrants without documents and they will be detained and returned to their home countries.”
Fox News interviewed National Border Patrol president Brandon Judd who said, “Mexico is not going to allow [the migrants] to make it up to our southwest border in a huge caravan. They are going to have to get away from the Mexican authorities. Mexico has been doing a great job [. . .] in protecting our southwest border and they’ve become a great border security partner.”
Those migrants who do reach the U.S. border will be confronted with a series of options: (1) They can be sent back to Guatemala as part of a “safe third country” agreement with the U.S. (2) They can return to their home country. Or (3) they can apply for asylum in the U.S.–considered a doubtful strategy–but will have to wait out their cases in Mexico in accord with the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
For more, see Fox News.