Migrants hailing from several Central American countries including Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are travelling in large groups to the U.S.-Mexico border and seeking asylum from extreme poverty, gang violence, and terror that is rampant in their home countries. A group of 160 people left the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras on Oct. 12, 2018 and by the early hours of the next day’s travel, the group had gained over 1,000 members also committed to make the journey.
Two other groups have since formed and are taking a similar path to the border as the first caravan. These groups decide to travel in large numbers due to the unsafe nature, especially for women and children due to the possibility of facing danger along the trip. The size of the group acts to deter possible threats but other challenges, such as severe sunburn from relentless sun exposure, constant dehydration and lack of proper footwear make the journey grueling.
For a majority of migrants, this journey offers a rare chance to escape several hardships, and yet the treatment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has been less than welcoming. The journey leading up to the border threatens danger through human trafficking and robbery, although organizations aware of the caravans have come together to provide the migrants with necessary food and shelter. At the U.S.-Mexico border, many migrants have pleaded for access to transportation by buses after making much of the journey on foot, with 200 individuals marching to a U.N. office to petition for support.
President Donald Trump made several comments regarding the migrant caravan which have caused controversy, with Trump mentioning “tent cities” that would be built to hold those seeking asylum. Trump also warned what he called the “invasion” of migrants by stating they would be greeted at the border by the United States military and on Oct. 29, a statement announced that 5,200 troops would be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border. These remarks are under close watch, as Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 featured promises to curb illegal immigration. Comments made by previous U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned from his job on Nov. 7 2018, surrounding the credibility of migrants fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence got media attention, along with Session’s emphasis of his “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration into the United States.