• Monday, Mar 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:14 pm

Hundreds of Central Americans join first migrant caravan of 2021

  • Published at 09:47 pm January 15th, 2021
migrant caravan
Hondurans climb onto the back of a truck for a ride in a new caravan of migrants, set to head to the United States, in Cofradia, Honduras on January 15, 2021. Reuters

Coordinated security and coronavirus travel restrictions between countries will make it hard for the group to reach Mexico or continue their journey north

Around 2,000 Hondurans set off from San Pedro Sula on Friday and began walking toward the Guatemalan border in a caravan hoping to reach the United States, fleeing violence and an economy shattered by hurricanes and coronavirus lockdowns.

A Reuters witness said the caravan departed at around 5am from the bus terminal in Honduras's second city, which was hard hit by flooding from Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November.

Coordinated security and coronavirus travel restrictions between countries will make it hard for the group to reach Mexico or continue their journey north.

Guatemala, Honduras, EL Salvador and Mexico are keen to halt the first migrant caravan of the year, which comes less than a week before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

While Biden has promised a more humane approach to migration, in a departure from outgoing President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies, the countries on the migration route are expected to maintain their own security measure to limit irregular flows reaching the US border.

Central America is reeling from a growing hunger crisis in the devastating fallout of the hurricanes, as well as violence and the lockdown measures that disrupted the job market.

Authorities in Central America and Mexico have stepped up efforts to stop the caravan well before the US border, using anti-coronavirus measures as the latest tool to curtail migration.

That will likely be a relief for Biden, whose aides have privately expressed concerns about the prospect of growing numbers of migrants seeking to enter the United States in the early days of his administration.

On Thursday, Guatemala cited the pandemic in order to declare emergency powers in seven border provinces migrants frequently transit through en route to Mexico. The measures limit public demonstrations and allow authorities to disperse any public meeting, group or demonstration by force.

Honduras and Guatemala have announced they will deploy thousands of soldiers to preemptively stop caravan members, while Mexico also deployed agents to its southern border on Thursday.

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