By Sam Tilley
Thousands of Central American migrants are said to be making their way on foot towards the southern United States border. The so-called caravan, which is largely comprised of nationals from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, originated from a group of 1,000 Hondurans that began to march towards the Guatemalan border with the overall intention to reach the US. Current estimates are that the number of migrants on the move is approximately 8,000; with another 3,000 awaiting processing at the Mexican border.
Many of the migrants are seeking better living conditions, employment and a chance to escape from one of the most dangerous regions in the world. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for measures to be put in place so that the migrants never reach the US border, even going as far to suggest that Middle East-based terrorists had managed to infiltrate the caravan and that it’s very presence was a grave security risk to generate animosity towards the group.
In an attempt to prevent the caravan from entering the United States, President Trump has threatened to cut off financial aid to any country permitting the migrants through border crossings. This threat has appeared to go unnoticed however, as the group breached numerous entry points into Mexico and, after initial clashes with Mexican riot police, were for all intents and purposes allowed through uncontested.
Trump, with one eye firmly on the crucial, upcoming US Midterm elections, has also promised to shut down the Mexican-US border if the migrants attempt to gain unlawful access. Although, how he would manage to police each of the 1,954 miles is yet to be seen. Experts believe that, considering the size of the caravan and the speed at which it has been travelling, the migrants will reach the US border in a matter of weeks.
There has been confirmation of at least two fatalities; a Honduran man who reportedly fell off the back of a vehicle in the convoy and a similar case involving another Honduran national who fell off a trailer.
The route that the caravan is predicted to take has been described as “perilous” and “fraught with danger” by Mexican officials and the death count is expected to rise. No doubt partly influenced by this knowledge, the caravan has decreased in size whilst travelling through Guatemala with many migrants deciding to turn back to utilise a fleet of buses set up by the Honduran government.