New caravan gathers for a journey north

THE WASHINGTON POST:

Another migrant caravan is forming in Honduras, with plans to set out next week on a journey that will once again test the immigration policies of Mexico and the United States.

In much the way last year’s Central American caravan originated, a flier is circulating on Honduran social media. “We’re looking for refuge,” it says. “In Honduras, we are being killed.” It advertises a 5 a.m. departure Jan. 15 from the northern city of San Pedro Sula.

The Mexican government says it is preparing for the group’s arrival.

“We have information that a new caravan is forming to enter our country in mid-January,” Olga Sánchez Cordero, the interior minister, said at a news conference Monday. “We are already taking the necessary steps to ensure the caravan enters in a safe and orderly way.”

When the previous caravan reached Mexico in October, Mexican authorities closed one of the main border crossings but allowed thousands of migrants to swim across the river separating the country from Guatemala. The migrants then continued north through Mexico, most of them traveling without documents.

This time, Sánchez Cordero said, the government will place guards at 370 illegal crossing points and the border will be “controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people.” But she suggested that members of the caravan could be allowed into the country legally if they apply for visas.

“We don’t know how many people this will be, but it’s a lot,” said Walter Coello, a taxi driver from Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, who helped organize the last caravan and is playing a similar role once again. “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.”

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