San Pedro Sula, Honduras: Another caravan of Central American migrants set out from Honduras on Monday seeking to reach the U.S. border, following the same route used by thousands last year in at least three caravans.
About 600 migrants gathered under a steady rain at the bus station in the violent city of San Pedro Sula and decided to set out in the darkness, hours before their intended Tuesday departure.
About 300 people, mainly women and children, clambered aboard 30 small buses, intent on reaching the Guatemalan border.
Another 300 or so began walking in the rain toward the border town of Agua Caliente late Monday. One passing man asked a journalist for his umbrella, saying he feared his daughter would get sick in the rain.
As they walked, some migrants pleaded with local store owners to give them food or water for their journey.
More people continued to arrive at the bus station, making it likely the caravan’s numbers would grow as additional migrants set out Tuesday.
One woman, who refused to give her name because of safety concerns, said her 9-year-old daughter had already been raped so badly she suffered medical problems.
The mother, who worked at a bakery, said she was taking her daughter and 13-year-old son to the United States.
Once there, she said she would ask U.S. authorities for asylum or refugee status, “because it’s not possible to live in Honduras anymore.”
The new caravan is almost certain to both raise tensions and garner support along its route through Guatemala and Mexico to the U.S. border.
It was unclear whether the caravan planned to go to Tijuana, the Mexican border city where thousands of migrants from the first three caravans have been largely marooned since November.
President Donald Trump told the nation Tuesday that “a big new Caravan” is heading up to the U.S. Southern Border from Honduras. He broke the news on Twitter.
The timing of the fresh caravan offered new ammunition in Trump’s fight with Congress over border wall funding. Democrats’ refusal to provide $5.7 billion in funding for the wall has led to a partial shutdown of the federal government.
Trump warned that the drones favored by Democrats won’t be enough to stop the next caravan of migrants, arguing only a wall can stop them.
“Tell Nancy and Chuck that a drone flying around will not stop them. Only a Wall will work. Only a Wall, or Steel Barrier, will keep our Country safe” he tweeted.
Trump, who has been pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to negotiate a compromise that will allow some of the wall to be built, called on congressional Democrats to “stop playing political games and end the government shutdown,” which is now in its 25th day.
Trump said in a later tweet that polls are now showing that people are beginning to understand the humanitarian crisis and crime at the border.
“Democrats will soon be known as the Party of Crime,” according to Trump. “Ridiculous that they don’t want Border Security.”
A new caravan of around 500 migrants has formed in Honduras to escape from the violent city of San Pedro Sula and started its trek to the U.S. border, reports said.
This is in addition to thousands of Latin American migrants who have been impatiently waiting in shelter camps in the Mexican border city of Tijuana to cross the border hoping for a new life.
Police used tear gas against a larger group of migrants who tried to jump over the border wall last month, sending women and children running back to the Mexican side. Some others were arrested