Third Migrant Caravan Approaches Mexican-Honduran Border
Mexico received the first Honduran migrant from the most recent caravan to have transmigrated Central America on January 29. This is the third of such caravans, the first having left Honduras in mid October 2016 and this one having departed Honduras on January 15.
Around 80 percent of Hondurans are unable to find consistent work in the country, prompting thousands of young people to leave the country in search of asylum in the United States. Petitions for asylum in the U.S. have risen 2,000 percent and Central American migrants continue to flood into the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Juarez.
Immigration has been the subject of significant debate. The recent shutdown of the U.S. government was due to debate over the issue of U.S.-Mexican border security. In an historic turn of events, Mexico initiated an open borders policy on January 17. The Mexican government said that they are willing to grant “at least a thousand” Central Americans the opportunity to start new lives in Mexico.
Honduras has taken a different approach to this surge in emigration. The Ministry of the President of Honduras is threatening to jail parents who take their children illegally from the country. Ricardo Cardona of the Ministry of the Presidency said that along with lower taxes and more social programs in the poorest areas of the country, 40,000 jobs were provided in 2018. However, despite these improvements, caravans continue to come to Mexico and the U.S.
In a social forum on the country’s external debt and development, Honduran citizen Ismael Zepeda explained, “The principle cause of the caravan is the economic condition, mainly unemployment, but also a situation in which many Hondurans are making beneath minimum wage and are unable to afford even the necessities.” Economic conditions in Honduras have become so destitute that many believe that the risk of illegal immigration is the only way.