Another migrant caravan is heading to the US; Trump has already taken note

Posted at 5:52 PM, Oct 16, 2018

 A new migrant caravan is heading to the United States. And US President Donald Trump has already weighed in, threatening to cut foreign aid to Honduras if the group isn't brought back to the Central American country.

The caravan, which organizers say numbers thousands of people, formed in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Saturday and crossed into Guatemala on Monday.

Members of the group told CNN en Español that they decided to join the caravan and head to the US because of insecurity and a lack of jobs in Honduras.

The big question: Will authorities detain them before they reach the US border?

As local media documented the first steps of the group's journey over the weekend, government officials across the region spoke out, advising them to turn back.

The US Embassy in Honduras warned of the dangers of the journey and noted that the United States would enforce its immigration laws. Mexico's foreign ministry released a statement noting that travelers should consult its migration laws before trying to enter.

"Please bear in mind that current legislation does not permit entry into Mexico if requirements to travel to a neighboring country have not been met," the statement said. "To avoid surprises, please inform yourself before starting out."

But the caravan continued undeterred.

Police in Esquipulas, Guatemala, about 10 km (6 miles) from the border, blocked their path for nearly two hours on Monday, according to local media reports, but eventually allowed them to continue their journey after the migrants refused to turn back.

By Tuesday morning, the caravan had caught the attention of Trump, who tweeted about it.

Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in, saying he's spoken with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.

"Told him U.S. will not tolerate this blatant disregard for our border & sovereignty," Pence tweeted.

Bartolo Fuentes, one of the coordinators of the march, told CNN that the group planned to apply for humanitarian visas in Mexico that would allow them to travel through the country to the US border.

Many families in the caravan spent Monday night in Esquipulas and restarted their march north Tuesday morning.

This caravan's emergence comes nearly six months after another caravan consisting largely of Honduran immigrants reached the US-Mexico border.

That group's approach sparked a Twitter tirade by Trump, and days later spurred his decision to deploy National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border. Trump also threatened foreign aid to Honduras at that time.

Ultimately, migrants from that group crossed the US border and asked for asylum.

Leaders of the new caravan told CNN en Español that it formed spontaneously and was organized through social networks.

This caravan's formation also comes just weeks before high-stakes midterm elections in the United States, in which many Republican candidates have been echoing the President's messaging about boosting border security and cracking down on illegal immigration. And no matter what happens next to these migrants, their caravan is likely to come up on the campaign trail.

US Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman said the agency is monitoring the caravan and working with Central American countries and Mexico on the matter.

"As we have said time and again, 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 said.

Honduras, the second-poorest country in Central America, is plagued by widespread gang violenceSan Pedro Sula, where this caravan began, has been described as one of the world's murder capitals.

But experts have argued that US foreign aid has helped stem violence in the Central American country. And that without it, migration is likely to increase.