What began as a massive group of an estimated 1,200 Central Americans that were seeking asylum in the United States has now dissipated somewhat. Today, less than a week after the caravan began their journey on foot, Mexican officials are breaking up the massive group and instead giving them humanitarian visas, The Washington Post reports. The visas will also let the migrants to travel within Mexico for up to a month in order to file an immigration claim. Others, however, will venture on and try to get asylum in the U.S.
The caravan is an organized trip that happens annually, however, this year’s journey is reportedly the largest since the organized trips began more than a decade ago. One of the reasons they travel in large numbers is simply to be cautious. There’s a safety issue and if they travel united, there’s a higher chance of remaining safe.
The massive gathering got the attention of the President Donald Trump, which has put a major spotlight on the journey.
Gracias a las comunidad d Matias Romero por su solidaridad con la Caravana Viacrusis Migrantes en la Lucha.
While President Trump’s anti-immigration agenda has targeted Mexicans and Muslims, his aim on Central America in particular with Honduras and El Salvador has been just as tough. Earlier this year, Trump rescinded protection for an estimated 200,000 Salvadorans who were living in the U.S. since 2001 after a devastating earthquake struck El Salvador.
President Trump took to Twitter earlier this week to voice his frustration with what he says are “weak immigration policies.”
Honduras, Mexico and many other countries that the U.S. is very generous to, sends many of their people to our country through our WEAK IMMIGRATION POLICIES. Caravans are heading here. Must pass tough laws and build the WALL. Democrats allow open borders, drugs and crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018
It’s reported that about 80 percent of those who are requesting asylum from the U.S. are from Honduras — the turbulent country plagued with violence. The migration trip is organized by Pueblos Sin Fronteras, an organization who’s been accompanying asylum seekers for the past 15 years. Their aim is to facilitate shelter, provide food, and guidance through the group’s 2,000-mile journey. The people — most of them women and children, though also include men — began on foot in Tapachula near the Guatemalan border to America late in March.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras organized the march to help the participants stay safe during their travel.
However, in the past couple of days the continuation of the trip has become uncertain due to the interference of the Mexican government. BuzzFeed reports that the Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration (INM) has announced that they will break up the caravan by offering visas. BuzzFeed also reports that the people who will be given visas will be the most at risk that are traveling in the caravan including “pregnant women, people with disabilities, or people with chronic illnesses like HIV.” The remaining people will have to petition the Mexican government for permanent stay or be ordered to return to their native country.
“We didn’t leave our countries just because we wanted to,” Zelaya Gomez told The Washington Post. “It’s for the safety of our children.”
Trump’s tweets about the caravan have fueled even more threats from the Trump administration about border security. The president said he will place the National Guard at the border, however, according to White House officials, they won’t have “physical contact” with migrants or process any paperwork, NBC News reports.
As for the caravan of migrants, some will continue to the U.S.
Caravana Viacrusis "Migrantes en la Lucha". Sigue la lucha, seguimos caminando. Matias Romero Oax., 3 abril. 6:00 p.m. https://t.co/n3tFZNt7WY
— Pueblo Sin Fronteras (@PuebloSF) April 4, 2018
Pueblo Sin Fronteras organizer Irineo Mujica told The Washington Post, “We will try to find a better way of doing our caravans’ in coming years. We didn’t anticipate, or want, a caravan of this size.”