The federal government is determined to avoid any repeat of violence on the southern border, a high-ranking official said yesterday as a new migrant caravan set out from Honduras bound for the United States.
Alejandro Encinas, undersecretary for human rights, migration and population in the Secretariat of the Interior, said the government has a clear strategy with which to receive the next migrant caravan and warned that its members will not be permitted to “bang down the door.”
A clash between Central American migrants and Mexican police on the Mexico-Guatemala border near Tapachula, Chiapas, in October resulted in the death of one Honduran man.
Thousands of migrants reached Mexico’s southern border in the final months of last year as part of several migrant caravans.
Many of them entered Mexico illegally, some by wading or floating across the Suchiate River, which separates Chiapas from Guatemala.
Large numbers of migrants are now stranded on Mexico’s northern border, especially in Tijuana, where they face a long wait for the opportunity to request asylum in the United States.
Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero said earlier this month that the government is reinforcing the southern border to guarantee that migrants’ entry into Mexico is safe, orderly and regulated, a strategy reiterated by Encinas yesterday.
“Everybody has the right to human mobility, to orderly, safe and regulated migration, and he who enters in a regular manner . . . will have no impediment . . .” he said.
“We have to guarantee [migrants’] rights but at the same time comply with the regulations that our laws establish,” Encinas added.
The undersecretary also said that the government has been in contact with its counterparts in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to discuss their “responsibilities [which] we expect them to meet.”
Around 300 migrants left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 30 small buses under the cover of darkness last night to travel to that country’s border with Guatemala, the news agency Associated Press reported.
Another 300 migrants set out on foot in the rain toward the border town of Agua Caliente. One man asked a journalist for his umbrella, saying that he was afraid his daughter would get sick.
A woman who refused to give her name due to safety concerns said that she had decided to leave Honduras with her nine-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son after the girl was raped.
“It’s not possible to live in Honduras anymore,” she said.
A report by Associated Press today said that hundreds more migrants had started trekking out of San Pedro Sula, a notoriously violent city, this morning.
Honduran media reported that that authorities had secured the border with Guatemala to ensure that everyone had proper documentation to leave the country.
If the members of the new migrant caravan succeed in leaving Honduras, crossing Guatemala, entering Mexico and traveling to the border with the United States – a journey that is likely to take weeks or even months – they will then, like the thousands of migrants who preceded them late last year, be faced with a long wait to plead their case for asylum with U.S. authorities.
Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump continues to try to convince the American public and the Democratic party that there is a “crisis” at the southern border that can only be solved by his long-promised border wall.
“A big new Caravan is heading up to our Southern Border from Honduras. Tell Nancy and Chuck that a drone flying around will not stop them. Only a Wall will work,” Trump wrote on Twitter today, referring to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer.