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  • Honduras immigrants scuffle with Honduran police officers blocking the access to the Agua Caliente border with Guatemala n the municipality of Ocotepeque, Honduras Oct. 19, 2018.

    Honduras immigrants scuffle with Honduran police officers blocking the access to the Agua Caliente border with Guatemala n the municipality of Ocotepeque, Honduras Oct. 19, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 October 2018

Over 600 women and children entered Mexico to seek refugee status, and in Honduras, people are saying: '‘let’s go join the caravan.’

According to Mexican media, as of Saturday afternoon, some 640 Honduran migrants have been registered as refugee seekers in the Nothern American country where women and children have priority, as more caravans are set to leave Honduras to the north, a Central American migration expert based in Honduras told teleSUR Sunday.

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"In the Municipality of Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, staff from the National Migration Institute (NMI) are processing applications for admission (into Mexico). They are also helping the vulnerable population - women, children, and others who require it" said an NMI official.

Now in the thousands, the migrant caravan headed to the United States is still waiting to enter at City Hidalgo, Chiapas. Some are trying to bypass Mexico’s migration authorities by rafting or even swimming across the massive and fast-running Suchiate River that separates a large part of Guatemala and Mexico.

Over the weekend hundreds of the Hondurans who had already traveled hundreds of kilometers mainly on foot were met with Mexico riot police at the border. U.S. President Donald Trump has warned he will militarize and close the country’s southern border to prevent them from entering.

The original caravan left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, one of the country’s most violent cities, on Oct. 13 which quickly accumulated to include a now reported 8,000 people who are dispersed across Honduras, Guatemala and now Mexico.

On Saturday the Honduran Office of Foreign Ministry released a statement noting that it had closed the border with Guatemala at Aguas Calientes in order to “save the lives and physical integrity of citizens and foreigners” that try to pass through customs in this city. The move stopped some 500 Honduran caravaners from crossing into the neighboring northern country.

This is the second so-called "Migrant Walk" that has left Honduras this year in order to escape extreme violence and unemployment in a country that registered over 3,790 homicides in 2017 and seven percent unemployment, according to the Northern Triangle Mobility Initiative.

Between 2014 and 2016 approximately 2,300 people under the age of 23 were killed violently in Honduras, the non-governmental organization Casa Alianza told local media. That figure has increased by 53 percent since Juan Orlando Hernandez became president in 2015.

Speaking to teleSUR, Central American migration expert and anthropologist, Amelia Frank-Vitale who lives in San Pedro Sula says there’s talk from Honduras of more caravans that will head north in the immediate future.  

“There are others caravans being called for to start on Monday from Choloma (just outside of San Pedro Sula) and another this weekend from La Ceiba (on the Honduran northern coast),” Frank-Vitale said.

“People everywhere are saying ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s go join the caravan.’ Everyone wants to leave - really just everyone wants to leave so if this seems like a possibility people are eager.”

Also on Saturday Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, gave a joint press conference introducing the implementation of the Safe Return Plan. In Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Honduran authorities have set up a station in order to register those who wish to go back to Honduras.

Anthropologist Frank-Vitale adds that a caravan out of El Salvador is already in the works: “Inspired by Honduras there are rumored caravans to begin out of El Salvador on Oct 31.”

Correction: This article was edited from its previous version published earlier on Sunday to include corrections related to comments from Amelia Frank-Vitale.


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