San Pedro Sula, Honduras – Some 600 migrants expected to reach the United States in a caravan Saturday from the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.
Hundreds of young men, women and children from Nicaragua, Honduras and Cuba had gathered at the city’s central bus station overnight and early in the morning.
Shortly after dawn, they headed to the Guatemala border hoping that traveling in a group would be safer or cheaper than hiring smugglers or trying it themselves. A small second group soon joined.
Fabrisio Ordnez, a young Honduran laborer, said he had joined the group in hopes of “giving my family a new life”.
“The dream is to be able to do many things in Honduras in the United States,” he said, adding that he was pessimistic that left-wing-elect President Xiomara Castro, who will take office on January 27, would be able to do 12 years of scandal-stricken quickly solve the economic and social problems of the Central American nation after the conservative administration of
“They’ve looted everything,” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult for this government to mend things.”
Nicaraguan marcher Ubaldo López hoped that local authorities would not try to stop the group, as they have in the past.
“We know this is a very difficult road and we ask God and the Honduran government to go with us on the border with Guatemala and not create more obstacles,” he said.
He said he hoped Guatemala and Mexico would also allow the group to pass and the US government would “open the doors for us” – despite recent examples of regional governments, often under US pressure, trying to stop such caravans. Is.
Huge numbers of migrants, many of them from Central America and Haiti, have reached the US border over the past year, causing a headache for President Joe Biden’s administration.
After traveling for several hours on Saturday, some migrants managed to cross into Guatemala via illegal border crossings, while several hundred were stuck on the Honduran side of the border because they had about $50 worth of PCR tests for the coronavirus. There was no money to pay. officials.
“People are being returned, everything is in order, humanely,” said Carlos Emilio Morales, general director of the Guatemala Migration Institute. He did not provide any further details.
“We are protecting our borders, we are protecting the health of all Guatemalans,” Morales said.
In December, 56 migrants were killed when a truck carrying more than a hundred foreigners overturned on a highway in southern Mexico.
The US Border Patrol has said it had more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants on the Mexican border between the same months in September 2020 and 2021 – more than four times the previous fiscal year’s total.
Biden has backed proposals for $7 billion in aid to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, hoping an improvement in economic conditions will slow migration.
Late last year, the US government reactivated an immigration policy that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their hearings. Mexico’s foreign ministry confirmed the reactivation of the US program and said it would not temporarily return migrants to their countries of origin for humanitarian reasons.
The government of Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador has indicated that Washington has acknowledged its humanitarian concerns with the program, which includes “more resources for shelters and international organizations, protection for vulnerable groups, consideration of local security situations”. And includes vaccines as well. and anti-COVID-19 measures from migrants.