How Social Media is Fueling Migrant Caravans

An article in today’s Miami Herald describes how would-be migrants in Central America are using social media applications such as Facebook and WhatsApp to organize caravans to the U.S.

Whereas such potential migrants once had to make costly phone calls to friends and relatives already in the United States to plan the safest and most efficient routes and means to get to America, they now rely on social media chats.

One such asylee wannabe is Élmer Alberto Cardona, a 27-year-old shopkeeper from Honduras currently en route by caravan to the U.S.  Cardona and his wife had originally left last October in another caravan and made it to Tijuana. From there, they crossed the border and gave themselves up to the U.S. Border Patrol.  Things did not go as planned. Separated from his wife, Cardona was deported to Honduras.  Back in San Pedro Sula for only a few days, Cardona saw a Facebook announcement about the formation of a new caravan, leaving April 10. He “didn’t think twice,” and signed up, this time with his three young children but without his wife, still in the U.S.

“I think it will go better this time,” Cardona said by phone  near the Honduras-Guatemala border.  “It looks like a lot of people are getting together.”

Migrants such as Cardona post questions on the social media platforms (“Can you find someone to take you to the other side?”), concerns (“Remember that in Mexico there are a lot of kidnappings”), helpful hints (“To take a child you just need a passport and permission if the mother isn’t going”), and warnings, such as roadblock locations.  Some caravanners, all of whom seemed armed with the ubiquitous smart phone, chart their progress from the “Northern Triangle” and through Mexico, sharing photographs and stories along the way.

And for those still left behind, there are always announcements of new caravans leaving soon.

“Another is leaving April 30, Salvadoran friends,” reads one announcement.

For more, see the Miami Herald.

 

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