Tuesday morning President Trump tweeted that he would cut off millions in aid to Honduras if a caravan of migrants that originated there last weekend wasn’t stopped. By that point the caravan, variously estimated to contain between 2,000 and 4,000 people, had already crossed the border into Guatemala, meaning there was little Honduras could do to stop them at that point. But yesterday, after Trump’s tweet, the organizer of the caravan was arrested by Guatemalan police who say they plan to deport him back to Honduras. However, the remainder of the caravan is still in Guatemala. Last night, Trump expanded his threat to cut aid to both Guatemala and El Salvador:
As I suggested yesterday, I don’t think Trump’s focus is on this group of a few thousand people. His concern is the many caravans that will follow if this one makes it to the U.S. border. This morning Trump added a point about the caravan as it relates to domestic politics:
Tweets aside, the Associated Press reports the majority of the caravan was still on the move Wednesday, and still heading north:
A caravan of some 2,000 Honduran migrants hit the road in Guatemala again Wednesday, hoping to reach the United States despite President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off aid to Central American countries that don’t stop them.
The weary migrants started walking again under a light rain. The day before they covered some 30 miles (50 kilometers) to arrive in Chiquimula, after crossing the border into Guatemala Monday.
Some hitched rides while others walked, as the eagerness of some to make quick progress clashed with the need to remain together as a group for safety…
Mexico has warned that only those who meet entry requirements will be allowed into the country. Hondurans need visas to visit Mexico in most cases.
Still, it remains unclear if Mexico and other governments in the region have the political will to physically halt the determined Honduran migrants, who are fleeing widespread poverty and violence in one of the world’s most murderous countries.
The migrants do have a mix of reasons for wanting to leave Honduras, it really is one of the most violent countries in the world and has been for most of the last decade. But economic reasons, which are not considered grounds for an asylum claim in the U.S., seem to be motivating many of them. This Al Jazeera report makes the case that a lot of these people are looking for jobs they can’t find back home.