An estimated 2,500 – 3,000 Honduran migrants crossed into Guatemala on Monday for a second northbound trek to the US border in six months, following a tense standoff with police in riot gear.
Rows of Guatemalan police in black uniforms, some wearing helmets and shields, initially blocked migrants from reaching a customs booth, Reuters images showed. It was not clear how long the standoff lasted, but the group was ultimately able to cross, said march organizer Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran lawmaker.
A police official on site said all Central Americans could pass freely through the region as long as they complied with migration control. –Yahoo!
“We’re going to drop in on Donald Trump. He has to take us in,” said 24-year-old Andrea Fernandez, who left Honduras with a newborn baby, a 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son because she said she could not find work and feared for their safety.
The caravan’s attempt to seek asylum in the United States will spotlight President Trump’s hardline immigration stance right ahead of midterms – as images of sobbing mothers and their malnourished children are sure to dominate headlines, should the group make it to the southern US border.
President Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut off roughly $175 million in annual aid to Honduras if their government doesn’t stop the caravan’s progression.
“The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” tweeted Trump.
The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence called on presidents in the region to control the migrants, offering economic help and development in return.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Honduras said in a Sunday statement “We are seriously concerned about the caravan of migrants traveling north from Honduras, with false promises of entering the United States by those who seek to exploit their compatriots.”
Conforme avanza el día y el trayecto, más personas se suman a la caminata de migrantes que va rumbo a Estados Unidos. Más de mil personas, entre ellos, muchos niños, salen de Honduras, obligados por la grave crisis que se vive en el país. pic.twitter.com/nc4SvGt6zu
— Gilda Silvestrucci (@GildateleSUR) October 13, 2018
Guatemala says that they have not promoted or endorsed any “irregular migration,” while many have noted the potentially political timing of the new caravan:
An estimated 2,500 migrants from Honduras are traveling in a group intent on crossing the US Border. Guatemala was supposed to stop them but backed down. Interesting that this is happening again right before the Midterm elections… pic.twitter.com/Bg0hVqKkVy
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 16, 2018
On Friday the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is considering using family separation as a way to discourage people from illegally entering the United States. On Saturday, President Trump told reporters: “We’re going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down,” adding “If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come.“
Meanwhile former acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tom Homan told Fox‘s Laura Ingraham on Monday night that the US should expect weekly caravans of illegal immigrants at the southern US border if Democrats take back control of the House this November.
“If the Democrats take control of the House, this caravan issue is going to happen every week. It’s just going to keep coming, Homan said, adding: “It should be the biggest issue we’re talking about. And I hope the voters are paying attention to what’s happening.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) October 16, 2018
“If there’s no consequence, no deterrence to illegal activity, why would it stop?” he asked. “President Trump has the right ideas. We need the Republicans in Congress to back him up. We need some changes. We know how to fix this. We just got to have to have the willpower to fix it. And the Democrats don’t have the willpower or desire.” (h/t Daily Caller)