Only a couple days after his Presidential Address President Trump addressed this past Thursday’s news of the latest migrant caravan, which left San Pedro Sula before the break of dawn this morning. “There is another major caravan forming right now in Honduras, and so far we’re trying to break it up, but so far it’s bigger than anything we’ve seen,” he warned. It’s worth noting that no one actually knows the size of the caravan yet. Nonetheless, the President took the opportunity to push for border wall funding. “And a drone isn’t going to stop it and a sensor isn’t going to stop it, but you know what’s going to stop it in its tracks? A nice, powerful wall.”
When the first migrant caravan made the headlines in October of 2018, the President used it as a talking point to instill fear into votes only weeks before midterm elections. Though the caravan contained about 7,000 people — less than a tenth of the number who applied for asylum last year, and far less than the total amount of people who’d crossed into the U.S. — the mass migration was characterized as an invasion.
Trump Threatened Central American Governments to Deter Migrant Caravan
At the time, Trump tweeted his threat to pull financial aid from Central American countries if they allowed migrants to cross north into the United States. “We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!” The threat caused Central American leadership to issue statements discouraging the progress of the caravan. This time around, analysts suggest that the caravan may encounter heightened resistance along the way in order for their governments to maintain good standing with the United States.
Mexico, though, has expressed a softer tone. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, who was sworn into office last month, pledged that his administration would not support massive deportations of migrants and preferred to take a more humane path in managing their arrival. “Our vision is that migrants are not criminals, much less do they constitute a threat to the security of Mexico or the United States,” said one of his cabinet members last week.
Deportation has led to the deaths of dozens of migrants who find themselves back at home, unable to flee from violence. The Guardian published a piece over the weekend that covered the death of Nelson Espinal, a Honduran migrant who made it to the U.S. border with the October caravan. He left his family behind, including a seven-year-old son, in order to seek asylum; he feared for his life under the threat of gang violence and hoped to make enough money to eventually bring the rest of his family with him. Upon reaching the U.S., he was deported back to his country, where only a week later he was shot dead outside of his home.