Imagine living in a dangerous country with violence that directly affects you and your family. Would you leave your country for a better life elsewhere or stay at home and risk harm?
On October 12, a migrant caravan, which is a group of people traveling to a new country, began the 2,800-mile journey (4,500 km) from Honduras to seek refuge in the United States.
The caravan has progressed through El Salvador and Guatemala, with many people joining along the way as there is safety in numbers. The estimated size ranges anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 people.
Honduras and other Central American countries have some of the highest murder rates in the world. In several neighborhoods, criminal gangs attempt to violently recruit members, posing a direct threat to many families. Central Americans want to flee the violence and unemployment in their homes and create a better life for their children in the U.S. However, it isn’t that easy.
Mexico Sends Police
Before the caravan reaches the United States, it needs to pass through Mexico. Mexico heavily relies on the U.S. for trade and a stable economy, so it must act according to America’s demands.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration are against illegal immigration because they believe immigrants take away American jobs and cause unwanted problems such as violence, unemployment, and poverty.
Trump recently threatened to close the Mexican-American border if Mexico allowed the migrants to pass through, which would significantly harm Mexico’s economy. Therefore, Mexico has deployed hundreds of police officers to secure its border and make sure that the caravan cannot go through.
Trump stated that financial aid would be cut off for the countries that permit the caravan to pass. Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador failed to stop the caravan and now risk the loss of millions of dollars in aid.
Immigration And U.S Elections
In an attempt to prevent the caravan from reaching the U.S., Mexico has offered the migrants temporary work permits, medical care, schooling, and housing. The only restriction is that the migrants have to stay close to Mexico’s southern border, stopping them from entering the U.S.
However, the migrants did not accept this offer and intend to proceed to their final destination: the United States. The U.S. has sent 5,200 troops to the Mexican-American border to violently turn the caravan back to Honduras.
The U.S. is under a lot of pressure to deal with the caravan, especially with the upcoming midterm elections. In order to secure a Republican majority in Congress, President Trump needs to garner enough public support from the Republican Party. Trump has promised his Republican supporters that he would strictly prohibit illegal immigration, which is why he is making harsh policies regarding the caravan.
This issue has sparked a global discussion about immigration and no one knows what the future holds for the caravan.
Sources: Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, NY Times