Mass Migration from South America Garners U.S. Attention: Many Hopefuls Turned Away

By Alexandra Wells, International News Writer

Starting April 2, a caravan of migrants traveling from Central American has recently become the target of President Donald Trump on Twitter. The group, of over 1,200 people primarily from Honduras, has traveled from the Guatemalan border to seek asylum in Mexico or to try to continue their journey into the United States. As the group moves, President Trump accuses Mexico of “doing very little, if not NOTHIING” in recent tweets.

In response to President Trumps tweets, the Mexican government stopped the caravan and issued a statement on Monday from the interior ministry and foreign relations ministry. As quoted by The Guardian, “Under no circumstances does the government of Mexico promote irregular migration.” The government also stated that it has removed approximately 400 members of the caravan already. These members, the statement continued, entered Mexico unlawfully, and have been repatriated to their home countries. Though some members of the caravan will continue traveling north, some members, such as people with disabilities or pregnancies, may be given humanitarian visas, while others may apply for asylum in Mexico. The Mexican Foreign Ministry, as quoted by CNN, said “the Mexican immigration authorities have proceeded to offer refuge in some cases, as well as other necessary protective measures” and that Mexico “does not make immigration decision for the United States or any other nations.”

Mexico is in a tight spot at this time due to the renegotiating of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada. In the conclusion of President Trump’s tweet accusing Mexico of inaction, he also threatened NAFTA. As quoted by CNN, Trump’s tweet said on Sunday, “Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at out dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!” He continued on Monday, saying that “Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large ‘Caravans’ of people enter their country. They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws. Mexico is making a fortune on NAFTA… They have very strong border laws – ours are pathetic.”

Members of the caravan are not just seeking economic improvement in their final destination, many of its members are from Honduras, which has gone through recent political change and experienced intense violence in recent years. One member of the caravan is Maria Elena Colindres Ortega, who was a member of Congress in Honduras until January, and now flees because of the current political situation in her home country. She stated, as quoted by Reuters, “We’re suffering a progressive militarization and lack of institutions, and… they’re criminalizing those who protested.” Ortega opposed the current ruling party and now flees her country after hearing about the caravan heading north. The group has been helped by an organization named Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People without Borders, which seeks to help migrants and inform them of their rights. The organization stated on Twitter in response to President Trump’s tweets that the refugee group, as quoted by CNN, “is a movement made of people who were forced to flee their countries of origin due to persecution and violence.”

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 10th print edition.

Contact Alexandra at

alexandra.wells@student.shu.edu

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