US-bound migrant caravan continues trek to Guatemala City
A new caravan of Honduran migrants seeking to reach the United States were making their way on foot Wednesday from the Honduran-Guatemalan border to this capital.
Around 700 men, women and children crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday after showing their documents at the Agua Caliente border crossing and set off very early on Wednesday morning for Guatemala City, according to figures from the Honduran government.
Carrying warm clothing in backpacks but no food, the Honduran migrants are hopeful of reaching the US.
“In Honduras, there’s hunger, poverty, lack of safety. Salaries are barely enough to eat,” one young man who was traveling in a group of nine people said.
The hundreds of Honduran migrants spent the night on some benches near the border city of Esquipulas, located in the eastern province of Chiquimula.
The Migrant House in Esquipulas prepared a light meal of bread and coffee for the members of the caravan, who took shelter in that residence from a persistent drizzle before setting off on their journey to Guatemala City.
Footage on Guatemalan television news programs, meanwhile, showed women with children in their arms walking along a road.
Authorities from both countries allowed the dozens of families to enter Guatemala with their personal identification documents.
Honduran authorities are refusing to allow the migrants to exit the country all at once but are permitting small groups to cross the border after they register with immigration services.
But many members of the caravan, which is believed to number more than 2,000 after an initial group of 1,000 people who set off Monday were joined by other migrants along the route, have become impatient with the wait times and are demanding that baton-wielding police allow them to cross into Guatemala and continue their bid to reach Mexico and then the US.
This latest caravan, which follows other large groups of migrants that made a similar journey ahead of US midterm elections in November, has formed at a time when the issue of illegal immigration is at center stage in the US.
President Donald Trump says a wall along the southern border with Mexico is necessary to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from flowing into the US.
Trump’s insistence on the wall - and the refusal of the opposition Democrats in Congress to provide $5.7 billion in this year’s budget to fund it - has led to a partial shutdown of the US federal government.