Caravan of migrants cross Guatemalan border on their way to the U.S.

This story, like the caravan itself, started building a few days ago. Today, the Associated Press reports that a group of as many as 2,000 Honduran migrants walked across the border with Guatemala after a stand-off with police:

A caravan of hundreds of Honduran migrants crossed the Guatemalan border under a broiling sun Monday hoping to make it to new lives in the United States, far from the poverty and violence of their home nation.

Singing the Honduran national anthem, praying and chanting, “Yes, we can,” the group estimated at 1,600 or more defied an order by the Guatemalan government that they not be allowed to pass.

“We have rights,” the migrants shouted…

The caravan was met at the border by about 100 Guatemalan police officers. After a tense standoff of about two hours, the migrants began walking again. Outnumbered, the police did nothing to stop them but merely accompanied them several miles (kilometers) into Guatemalan territory.

Officers later set up a roadblock about a mile (2 kilometers) outside the city of Esquipulas, where the migrants had planned to spend the night…

This video posted on Twitter apparently shows the migrants celebrating as they crossed into Guatemala after the standoff with police:

Yesterday, Fox News reported this started a few days ago as a group of 160 who organized on social media. The group got some local media coverage and quickly swelled to over 1,000 people. The most recent estimate says the group is now between 1,600 and 2,000 people.

Migrants quoted in various stories offer a combination of reasons for wanting to leave their country. For one, they are tired of living in poverty and want a chance at a job that could allow them to support their families. But secondly, many migrants also cite the fear of gangs and the high crime rate in the country. Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world since 2010.

The caravan members apparently plan to cross into Mexico and then request asylum at the U.S. border, at least that’s what they say now. The problem, of course, is that while the U.S. does offer asylum to people fleeing persecution, it does not offer it to people who want better jobs. So many of these people are probably ineligible for asylum which means they’ll be looking to cross the border illegally. At that point they won’t be refugees or migrants, they’ll be illegal immigrants, as they already appear to be in Guatemala.

We’ve seen all of this before and not very long ago. Back in March, another caravan of migrants began heading north toward the border with reporters following them along the way. There’s no doubt these people are desperate to attempt such a journey with children. But there’s also no doubt that if this group makes it through, you can expect tens of thousands more refugees to follow. That’s not something the U.S. government should encourage.