Trump threatens military shutdown of US-Mexico border over migrants

World Today

GUATEMALA-HONDURAS-US-MIGRATIONHonduran migrant families taking part in a caravan towards the United States, arrive in Guatemala City, on October 17, 2018. (ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP)

U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening a military shutdown of the U.S.-Mexico border if a migrant caravan heading north is not stopped. Trump also threatened by tweet the still unratified USMCA trade agreement.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras takes a look at the struggles of those making the journey.

The migrant caravan from Honduras has been on the road for days. With little food and sleep, many are showing signs of exhaustion.

Most of the migrants are in Guatemala, making the long journey by foot. A few of the lucky ones have been getting free rides to ease the burden.

“We can’t pay the bus fare because we don’t have any money. The little I have I use to buy juice and fruit for my children,” Abigail Castro explained. “I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Such uncertainty, they say, is adding to the hardship. Along the road, a few Guatemalans are helping as much as they can with acts of kindness.

As the Honduran travelers make their way through Guatemala, the government there has been keeping a close eye on their movements. Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales is preparing to help any who wish to return home.


Honduran migrants take part in a caravan towards the United States in Chiquimula, Guatemala on October 17, 2018. (ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP)

“We have been in constant talks with President Juan Orlando Hernandez from Honduras so that we can think of a return that is comfortable, viable and which is the most humane,” the president said. “This is for those who want to return, which we understand there are people returning to Honduras. We are providing resources so that this can happen.”

The intense tropical heat is already taking its toll. It did not help that most of the Hondurans were already malnourished when they decided to flee their homeland, where violence and extreme poverty prevail.

“God willing, the U.S. president will open the doors for us so we can go in,” Daisy Turcos said. “That’s our proposal. We’re not forcing anything but people should do God’s will.”

But on Twitter on Thursday, U.S. President Trump tweeted: “In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE DOWN OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” 

With that threat looming, the migrant caravan is expected to reach the border with Mexico sometime next week. Already waiting for them there at the river separating Guatemala from Mexico are more than 240 Mexican Federal Police.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to be in Mexico City to talk – among other things – about immigration from Central America.