Caravan: Homeland Invasion or Humanitarian Crisis?

Staff Writer: Mayson Cambron

On Oct. 12, a group of Hondurans finally decided that they had had enough. They packed up, put on their shoes and began to walk, leaving behind their hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in hope of gaining asylum in either Mexico or the United States.

oct 1

Thousands of Latin Americans are walking together towards Mexico & the U.S. Photo courtesy of John Moore.

San Pedro Sula is known as the most violent city, with the highest murder rate, in the world outside of a war zone. With gangs, drugs, sex trafficking and an extremely corrupt government, the group of 160 people began a long trek towards what they hoped would be a better future.

Just two days after their walk began their numbers increased to 1,000. As the caravan gains momentum and continues to head towards the U.S., people from other nations in Latin America are joining the walk away from their homes. People from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras combined now makes up over 7,000 migrants.

Walking thousands of miles is no easy feat. Each day, the migrants face a number of different challenges. They are walking against a brutal sun with not enough water for everyone to remain hydrated. And while there are locals willing to help feed the caravan, feeding 7,000 is a hard task to take on.

“The hot weather means sunburn and dehydration are a constant risk, and some of the migrants have attempted to protect themselves with umbrellas and pieces of cardboard. A number have fainted during the journey after walking for six consecutive days,” says BBC.

As if the day doesn’t present enough challenges on its own, then comes the task of finding a place to sleep. Families have to crowd together and children have to sleep on the floor in an effort to get some rest before walking miles again the next day.

oct 2

Adults and children alike are sleeping on floors between long days of walking in the sun. Photo courtesy of John Moore.

By the time the caravan had reached the Mexico-Guatemalan border, they had been walking for nine days and the physical toll was too much for some.

Some people passed out from the exhaustion while others seemed to find a new source of energy. After being stopped by Guatemalan border patrol, migrants were enraged when they were told they couldn’t enter Mexico.

oct 3

Mexican paramedics aid a woman who had fainted near the Mexico-Guatemalan border. Photo courtesy of Oliver de Ros.

Many worked together to forcefully remove a barrier that prevented them from crossing into Mexico, and the caravan continued to work their way through the border. The caravan is now on their way towards the U.S. again despite this minor setback.

oct 4

Migrants are forcing their way through the border into Mexico. Photo courtesy of Oliver de Ros.

As the caravan continues to increase in size, the pressing issue remains: what will happen when all 7,000 of them reach the U.S. border? Will they be sent home? Will they be allowed into the U.S.?

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” said senior Nimra Ahmad, a student on the model U.N., “I am slightly afraid that they will be put into immigration internment camps and children will be separated from their families… this is definitely a humanitarian crisis.”

As the caravan gains national attention, debates get heated as to whether or not this is an invasion of America or if this is a true humanitarian crisis…and there isn’t much time to decide which one it is. If the caravan continues to walk at a pace of 15 miles a day, then they will reach the southern border of the U.S. in about two months. However, if they begin to ride on buses or hitchhike on cars as many have been, it will only be a matter of weeks.

oct 5

Migrants grab a ride on the back of this pickup truck. Photo courtesy of John Moore.

The U.S. is encouraging the migrants to seek asylum in Mexico first, and then apply for citizenship in America.

“To those in the caravan, turn around, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing,” says President Donald Trump.

With 4.4 million people currently waiting to obtain citizenship in the United States, it isn’t reasonable to just let 7,000 people in while the other millions continue to wait for legal entrance. The idea of applying and waiting however is not appealing as the process can take years.

“I think there will be a high security presence at the border… many of the migrants will try to push their way through even if it means going against the authorities,” commented senior Brynne Sumner who has been researching the caravan in her Advanced Composition class.

President Donald Trump has stated that he will be sending the U.S. Military to the border. If there are peaceful relations then the U.S. will be more willing to aid the migrants in filling out papers and gaining legal entrance, but if they approach the borders with the same violent attitude as they did in Guatemala, then this could be categorized as an invasion of the United States of America and the U.S. will step in.

 

Information pulled from various sources such as CBS, BBC, CNN and VOX.

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