Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Moving Towards American Borders
TEXAS – October 15, 2018
More than 1,500 Hondurans, including women with babies, left their homes hoping to cross the US border, even after the White House called on Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández to halt mass migration.
The so-called caravan began to grow rapidly on Friday after local media reported about 160 migrants from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras had gathered together to leave the city through Guatemala and into Mexico, organizer Bartolo Fuentes said.
Dooney Montoya, the volunteer helping the migrants, said people leave Honduras every day, but this is the largest stream ever and the first time it’s happening openly.
"I believe we'll get to the United States. There's no work in Honduras, and you live in fear that they're going to kill you or your children," said Fanny Barahona, 35, an unemployed teacher who was walking with her nine-year-old son and carried a two-year-old daughter.
31-year-old Maria Dolores Moreno told Washington Post she hopes to find work — any job — anywhere in the US.
"We want to realize the American dream," she said.
Some 1,300 people joined the so-called “March of the Migrant,” planning to walk from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras through Guatemala and into Mexico, organizer Bartolo Fuentes said. Once in Mexico, they plan to request refugee status to remain in the country or a visa to pass through to the US border, he said.
In April, media attention on a similar group of migrants dubbed a “caravan”prompted Trump to press for tougher border security and demand such groups be refused entry. Most in the caravan said they were fleeing death threats, extortion, and violence from powerful street gangs.
Earlier on Thursday, October 11, the US Vice President Mike Pence met in Washington with the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador and told them that the White House is ready to help their countries in economic development and provide additional investment if they start a strengthened fight against migration, corruption and group violence.
More than 64% of Honduran households live in poverty, and San Pedro Sula has one of the highest murder rates in the world. According to the latest survey conducted by the center for the study of immigration, the lack of economic prospects is the main reason why the people tend to leave, followed by violence in second place.
"There is no work and so much violence that you can get killed walking down the street," said Javier Solis, 25, who said he has not found work in a year and wants to enter the United States. On a previous attempt, he was deported to Honduras upon reaching Mexico.
In April, President Trump declared a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal immigration after that month’s migrants caravan, demanding to strengthen security and deny caravans of illegals seeking refuge.