Thousands of Central American migrants entered Mexico from Honduras and Guatemala last week and are still traveling towards the United States despite threats from the Mexican and US governments. They still have nearly 1,000 miles to go until they reach the US border and migrants are giving up hope.
Why are they coming?
The answer is actually quite simple; they need jobs, they wish to escape hate and persecution, and they have family in the US. Work is hard to come by, and the migrants have families to support as many are traveling with children. The US offers a place for refuge and opportunity to improve their lives and that of their families. A large majority of the migrants are from Honduras, a country with a failing and corrupt government that steals land from their people. The migrants joined the caravan because of hate and persecution in Honduras and other Central American countries.
What does the journey entail for those in the US-bound caravan?
Most people have no money. They rely on street vendors and organizations to pity their plight and spare them tamales and pineapple juice. Many people have given up and have decided to return home or stay in Mexico. They walk 30 miles a day in torn shoes, scorching weather, and torrential downpour. The migrants are also subject to constant crime and gang activity. Because of these difficult conditions, a report from the Mexican government says that the caravan has been reduced from nearly 7,000 to 3,600 contrary to caravan organizer reports, claiming their numbers are growing.
They are also facing angry backlash coming from the US government and its people. This backlash comes in the form of a plan to deploy 5,000 troops to the caravans supposed entry point in Texas and constant Twitter rants as Trump continues to demonize the migrants as “invaders”, “terrorists”, and “bad people”. The caravan migrants are said to be seeking asylum, which is a legal form of seeking refuge. But according to Trump’s administration, our borders are closed for business. Central-North American political conflict is bound to arise from this rather difficult situation.
Where are they now?
After a vote Thursday night, participants of the group decided to march toward Mexico’s Oaxaca state instead of crossing to the eastern part of the country. From there, organizers claim, they’ll travel to Mexico City. Once they arrive, the caravan hopes to demonstrate for amended immigration laws that allow migrant prosperity and economic opportunity. Right now the closest border crossing to this caravan would be between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, but heading that way is considered a more dangerous route. The group crossed into Mexico a week ago, nearly a week after the caravan formed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
The caravan was near the city of Tapanatepec, Mexico in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, about 1,000 miles from the U.S. border. The caravan walks 20 to 30 miles each day, with most on foot and some riding in trucks and other vehicles. The journey through Mexico, which includes stretches of large deserts and violent areas controlled by gangs or high in crime rates, is dangerous. Many migrants trying to make the journey from Central America to the U.S. border crossing never complete the trek.
After thousands of miles of marching, they still have thousands left to go. With surmounting threats from Donald Trump and American citizens, the migrants have quite a journey ahead.