A new migrant caravan plans to leave Honduras on January 15, and Mexico's government is bracing for its arrival
- A new caravan of Central American migrants is planning on leaving Honduras on January 15.
- The Mexican government is reportedly preparing for the caravan's arrival.
- The new caravan, like the first, originated through a flier circulating on Honduran social media.
"We're seeking refuge. In Honduras, they're killing us," reads a flier being shared on Honduran social media to promote the departure of a new migrant caravan that is scheduled to leave the Central American country towards the US on January 15.
The new migrant caravan presents a renewed challenge for the Mexican government to respond to the presence of large migrant groups making their way north.Olga Sánchez Cordero, Mexico's interior minister, said the country is "already taking the necessary steps to ensure the caravan enters in a safe and orderly way."
When the first caravan reached Mexico last year, the government closed down the border but allowed migrants to reach its territory by swimming across the river that separates Mexico from Guatemala. During a Monday news conference, Sánchez Cordero said guards will be placed on all 370 illegal crossing points. The border, she said, will be "controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people."
However, she also suggested that members of the caravan could be allowed into the country legally if they apply for visas.
Walter Coello, a taxi driver from Tegucigalpa who helped organize the last caravan and is playing a similar role in the organization of the new one, told the Washington Post that he doesn't know how many people will be traveling in the latest caravan but that "it's a lot."
"With this caravan, the goal is to give them a chance to work and have a better life, be it in Mexico or the United States," he said.
Around 7,000 people are estimated to have traveled with last year's caravan, which became a major point of contention between Republicans and Democrats during the 2018 midterm election.Read more: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BORDER CRISIS: Experts say there is no security crisis, but there is a simple way to fix immigration - and it's not a wall
Karen Valladares, executive director of the National Forum for Migration in Honduras, told the Washington Post that "caravans are an opening for people." Central Americans traveling in them feel safer among large groups of people and are less likely to depend on smugglers.
"Every day, people leave, but this way they feel more secure," she said. "There is more solidarity in going with groups. They don't have the fear that they are going to be the victims of organized crime."