Trump is threatening to have the military 'close' the border against a caravan of 4,000 Central American migrants. See their journey to the US.

Getty Images/John MooreA caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Scapula’s, Guatemala.

A growing group of Central American migrants is now roughly 4,000 strong, and is steadily moving northbound through Guatemala, en route to the United States, where many hope to seek asylum.

President Donald Trump has been lashing out for days at the Honduran government, where the caravan originated; the US immigration system; and congressional Democrats – each of whom he has blamed for the mass group of immigrants.

On Thursday morning, he fired off several angry tweets, threatening to have the military “close” the border and demanding Mexico prevent the group from travelling any further.

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” he tweeted.

Here’s a glimpse of the group on their trek northwards:


The caravan originally set out as a group of roughly 160 from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, known as one of the most violent cities in the world.

Getty Images/John Moore

Sources: Associated Press, Business Insider


Their numbers quickly swelled to at least 1,600 before crossing the Guatemalan border. Some news reports estimated as many as 3,000 joined the caravan by Tuesday.

Source: Reuters


Trump grew enraged at the news, demanding that the Honduran government stop the caravan and take back its citizens. “The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” he tweeted.

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: Twitter/@RealDonaldTrump


But it’s unclear what actions the Honduran government can take now that the caravan has reportedly doubled in size, and already crossed the Guatemalan border.

Getty Images/John Moore

As the group grew larger, swelling to 4,000 by Thursday, Trump’s anger only grew. He expanded his threat to withhold aid to each of the northern triangle countries, slamming the governments in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador and accusing them of doing “little to stop this large flow of people.”

Source: Twitter/@realDonaldTrump


Trump then pivoted his attention to Mexico, where the migrants will soon try to cross through, appearing to threaten trade relations. “The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA,” he tweeted. “Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border.”

Getty Images/John MooreImmigrants move through Guatemala in a migrant caravan headed towards the United States on October 17, 2018 in Zacapa, Guatemala.

Source: Twitter/@realDonaldTrump


Some of the migrants say they’re fleeing violence in Honduras, where gangs proliferate through communities and homicide rates remain high, though they have dropped slightly in recent years.

Source: InSight Crime


As one Honduran lawmaker pointed out on Twitter, “They are not seeking the American dream – they’re fleeing the Honduran nightmare.”

Getty Images/John Moore

Sources: The Guardian, Twitter/@JariDixon


Many migrants are making the trek for economic reasons, saying they’re unable to feed their families or find work in Honduras. “Every day I earn about $US5,” Carlos Cortez, a 32-year-old Honduran farmer travelling with his seven-year-old son told the Associated Press. “That isn’t enough to feed my family.”

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: Associated Press


Others, still, said Honduras’ danger and its lack of available work were inextricable problems. “In Honduras there are no jobs, and the jobs that do exist aren’t enough to live on,” 32-year-old Honduran Jose Francisco Hernandez said. “We can’t go to the city because it is full of gang members, and that is hurting us. We decided to migrate from the country to see if we can find a better life.”

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: Associated Press


Though Guatemalan authorities initially blocked migrants from entering, they eventually permitted the group to cross on Monday.

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: Reuters


During their crossing, they sang the Honduran national anthem and chanted “Yes, we can!”

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: The Guardian


By that point, the group’s numbers had swelled to beyond 1,600 — one estimate even pegged the number at 3,000 strong.

Getty Images/John Moore

The caravan is now much larger than the one that partially entered the US in May. That caravan was organised by the activist group Pueblo Sin Frontera — People Without Borders — and had dwindled from a group of 1,000 to roughly 200 by the time they reached the US-Mexico border.

Getty Images/David McNew

Source: Business Insider


Back then, the Trump administration had characterised the caravan as “an attack on the sovereignty of this nation.” Regardless, many of the migrants who stayed with the caravan until the end of the journey made it into the US and were processed for asylum claims. It’s unclear how many of those migrants will eventually win their cases and be permitted to stay in the US.

Getty Images/David McNew

Source: Business Insider


But the Trump administration has been trying to convey to citizens of Central American countries that even if they reach the US, they likely will not be allowed to stay. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told a group of indigenous leaders in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, last month that rumours they heard of guaranteed citizenship for families and pregnant women were false.

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: The Washington Post


“There’s no ability to stay in the US if you bring a child with you,” McAleenan said. “There’s no ability to just stay if you are pregnant. But our court system is very slow, so you might actually have a false promise of being able to stay in the US for a year or two before you are repatriated.”

Getty Images/Kevin McAleenan

Source: The Washington Post


But that message may not have entirely gotten through. “We’re going to drop in on Donald Trump. He has to take us in,” one 24-year-old migrant, Andrea Fernandez, told Reuters. She said she left Honduras with her three young children because she couldn’t find work, and feared for her children’s safety.

Getty Images/John Moore

Source: Reuters


Though the Trump administration has had harsh words for the governments of Central American countries the migrants come from, it has condemned the US immigration system even more strongly. The caravan is “what we see day-in and day-out at the border as a result of well-advertised and well-known catch-and-release loopholes,” Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a statement.

Getty Images/John Moore

“Until Congress acts, we will continue to have de-facto open borders that guarantees future ‘caravans’ and record numbers of family units entering the country illegally,” Waldman added.

Getty Images/John Moore

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