Migrants crossing the Suchiante River on the Mexico-Guatemala border (Photo: Ruptly)
A new caravan of over a 1,000 migrants from Honduras is making its way to the US and reached the Mexican border on January 20. They crossed the Suchiante River on the Mexico-Guatemala border into Mexican territory after five days of journey from the Northern city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Once inside Mexican territory, members of the caravan were apprehended by Mexico’s federal police force, the National Guard.
A short clash ensued when the migrants tried to escape from the police and the Mexican government has ordered for the caravan to be halted at the border. Although the Mexican authorities maintained that no injuries took place, at least two children are reported to have gone missing amid the clash. According to reports, more than 400 migrants were taken to to be processed at a Mexican migration station.
Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly known as AMLO) claimed in a press conference that the police deployment was for the “protection” of the migrants themselves. The president also denied any human rights violations in the attempts to intercept the different migrant caravans that had reached the nation’s southern borders. “[Our objectives are to defend] human rights, offer shelter and, although it seems contradictory, protection,” said the president, defending the deployment of the National Guards.
Mexico has been repeatedly threatened with sanctions by the US administration under president Donald Trump, and has thus agreed to take measures to prevent migrants from Central America from crossing over to the United States. Like with Guatemala, the Trump administration has pressured Mexico into signing a “Safe-Third Country” agreement with the US that requires any asylum seeker crossing these countries while trying to enter the US to first apply for asylum in that ‘safe’ third country.
While Mexico has refused to sign any migrant agreement with the US, the government has allowed the migrants to stay and settle down in Mexico instead of moving onward to the US. Estimates have put the number of migrants waiting to processed by Mexican authorities to be over 5,000, while an estimated 2,000 migrants are already on their way to the US-Mexican border.
For over a decade, thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers from several Central American nations, especially from Honduras, undertake a long and perilous journey fleeing crushing poverty and violence. A large part of the reason for such migration is the Honduran coup d’etat of 2009 that was extensively supported by the US military and government, which has destabilized the nation, socially and economically.
Ever since coming to power, the Trump administration has taken an extremely hostile and even militaristic stand against incoming migrants. The US has been detaining migrants and even adopted a policy to separate families. This is in addition to an expensive border fencing program, and adopting a scorched earth-like strategy at the border by depriving incoming migrants of humanitarian aid and supplies, who have reached the country after navigating through extreme poverty and danger.