Migrant Caravans Continue to Head for U.S. Border


Contributing Illustrator Paladin Jenkins

Yailine Soto

Contributing Illustrator Paladin Jenkins

After facing violence and discrimination in their home countries, thousands of migrants from Central America continue to join caravans fleeing to the US-Mexico border.

The migrant caravan of late 2018 consisted of thousands of Central American migrants, largely from Honduras, coming to the United States due to violence and poverty in their home country. The caravan is believed to have formed in October.

Many of the migrants have received help on their way to the US from the people in Mexico. However, not everyone supports such immigration, with some calling it an illegal invasion. Some in Mexico protested and urged the migrants to go back home.

History teacher Amy Lee thinks “it brings up a lot of great questions and Americans’ awareness of the world around them.” Lee continues by saying “it is upsetting to see people having to uproot themselves from their homes and being put in possibly unsafe environments.”

In an effort to discourage more caravans from forming in the future, President Trump has signed a proclamation restricting asylum applications and has sent more than 2,000 active duty US troops to the border. These efforts pale in comparison, though, to the government shutdown, started over a proposed border wall. Some hope the wall, if built, would discourage similar migrant caravans from attempting to travel to the US.

However, even the segments of the US-Mexico border that have a physical barrier are not immune to conflict. In a viral report just after Thanksgiving last year, border agents used tear gas to keep hundreds of migrants from climbing over the US-Mexico border and peeling back metal sheeting. The tear gas didn’t just affect the protestors, though. It also affected the people around them, including parents carrying their young children. Tear gas can cause additional harm, panic, injury, and in some cases death.

[perfectpullquote align=”right”]It is upsetting to see people having to uproot themselves from their homes and being put in possibly unsafe environments. -History teacher Amy Lee[/perfectpullquote]

Despite the president’s efforts, though, another migrant caravan has formed and is on its way. On January 15, about 2,000 new immigrants departed Honduras headed north. Just last week, the group, totaling near 10,000, arrived at the Mexican border. If they all continue to head to the US, this latest caravan will be even larger than last year’s.

Even though, these caravans seem distant from Philadelphia, Lee thinks some of their members could end up here: “Philadelphia is a sanctuary city so our city government has taken on a sympathizing role to immigrants seeking help.”

It’s an event affecting many, particularly the migrants of whom are fleeing from violence and poverty in their home country. It will continue to be a worry to those that live along the U.S.-Mexico border.