Migrant caravan embarks from Honduras, presenting challenge to the region

MEXICO CITY – Hundreds of Hondurans, many hoping to reach the United States, headed for the border with Guatemala on Wednesday in the type of migrant caravan that, in 2018 and 2019, enraged President Trump and posed a challenge Direct to governments throughout the region.

Traveling on foot and hitchhiking, the vanguard of the new caravan departed from the city of San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, at the beginning of the week, and others continued throughout Wednesday, local media and defenders reported of the migrants.

Migrants encountered some resistance on the border with Guatemala when Honduran police launched tear gas to repel a group seeking to cross. A spokesman for the Honduran security ministry said the group had tried to leave the country without eliminating proper migration controls, Reuters reported.

President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, who took office this week, said Wednesday that his government would honor the Central American migration agreements that allowed Hondurans to enter Guatemala as long as they had proper identification.

The caravan remembered The large-scale mobilizations of mainly Central American migrants that provoked the anger of Mr. Trump, who forced his regional counterparts to intensify their migration enforcement efforts by freezing US aid and threatening tariffs.

Under pressure from the Trump administration, the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) have signed agreements with the Trump administration that require migrants passing through one of those countries to first apply for asylum there before applying in the States United.

The agreement with Guatemala is the only one of the three that has been implemented, and in recent weeks, US authorities have begun sending Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers to Guatemala to seek refuge there.

The pressure of the Trump administration last year also forced Mexico to tighten its application of migration, which led to the deployment of thousands of Mexican security forces to help stop undocumented immigrants while traveling north.

At the U.S. border, the Trump administration has imposed increasingly restrictive policies, including the expansion of a program that returns certain migrants to Mexico while their immigration cases are taking place in US courts. Administration officials expect the tactic to further deter people from seeking refuge in the United States.

As the last caravan moves through Guatemala, Mexico will likely be under renewed pressure from the United States to further strengthen its borders and block the group’s passage through its territory.

Giammattei, after a meeting on Wednesday with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, said Mexican authorities had promised to restrict the movement of the caravan.

“The Mexican government told us that they will not let it pass, that they will do everything in their power to prevent it from happening,” the Guatemalan president said, according to Reuters.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Paulina Villegas contributed reporting.

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