Frequently Asked Questions: The Caravan Approaching Our Border

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On October 12, 2018, a small group of Hondurans, fewer than 200 individuals, agreed to meet and travel together through Central America and Mexico in an effort to escape the violence and political repression in their home country. As the group moved through the region and word spread of their journey north, their numbers grew; and at one point it was estimated there were as many as 7,000 individuals traveling in the caravan. Some of these migrants have requested asylum in Mexico, however, several thousand are still making their way north and hoping to arrive at the U.S. border in five days, where many of them will seek asylum. 

Representatives from Honduran human rights organizations anticipate that more and more migrants will follow in this path until the threat of violence and political repression ceases in Honduras. As of Oct. 25, Mexican officials report that roughly 3,600 migrants remain in the caravan and 1,700 have begun the asylum process in Mexico.


Why are they leaving?

There are a number of reasons people are fleeing. However, the principal reasons are tied to the increased violence, political repression, and organized crime in Honduras and other countries in the Northern Triangle. The increased militarization of their countries of origin, corruption, organized crime, crack-down on political dissenters, and threats of extortion are causing people to fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. They are packing up their homes and leaving everything behind because they have no other options. Many of the people traveling have had members of their family killed and are fleeing as a last resort.


Who are the people joining the caravan?

In the case of the people fleeing Honduras, those who joined the caravan are amongst the most vulnerable. A substantial number of caravan members are mothers with small children. There are also sick and elderly individuals and others who are unable to work or make enough money to pay off extortion threats.


Why are they in a caravan instead of travelling individually?

Traveling as a group allows people to have increased protection and security. It makes them less vulnerable to assault, robbery, kidnapping, rape, and murder – all of which are common risks of this journey north. Based on information received from people who visited with members of the caravan, the group’s numbers grew organically because others sought the safety of the caravan as it moved through the region.


How do they compare to previous migrant caravans?

These migrants are fleeing many of the same persisting issues that others have fled previously. In April of 2018, a smaller group of roughly 1,500 migrants fled from Honduras and El Salvador. The Department of Homeland Security reported roughly 400 members of that group entered the U.S.


Does the caravan present a security threat to Americans?

As previously stated, the majority of the individuals in this caravan are mothers and small children. They are fleeing violence and seeking protection in the United States. They have few resources and are struggling to get food and shelter. These families are trying to find a safe place to call home.


How has Mexico responded to the caravan?

Over 1,000 members of the caravan have already requested asylum in Mexico and have hopes to stay there. The country has made efforts to expand their asylum system and has been working with UNHCR to improve the efficiency of processing asylum requests. Both the current administration and the incoming administration have made this a priority. However the asylum system in Mexico is still fairly new and not yet prepared to admit thousands of people at once. Mexican authorities have not tried to stop the migrants from crossing the Mexican border, however they are being pressured to do so by the United States.


How should the U.S. respond?

It is clear that the flow of migrants will not stop until the causes of this migration are addressed. As long as violence and repression persist in Honduras and other countries, people will continue to flee to safety. The U.S. cannot turn a blind eye to migrants fleeing violence and must allow for those seeking asylum to be processed as mandated by law. The U.S. has a moral obligation to continue providing a safe haven to families that have suffered the atrocities of state-sanctioned violence and organized crime. The U.S. immigration system has the capacity to admit the individuals in the caravan in an orderly and humane fashion. The United States has responded to larger groups of asylum seekers before now and we have the ability to do so now.

  1. Migrants should have the ability to approach a port of entry and be given the fair opportunity to apply for asylum in a timely manner. Any effort to delay, discourage or deter them from applying is immoral and unethical.
  2. U.S. authorities should treat the families with respect and dignity. Children should not be separated from their parents and they should be processed together as one unit.
  3. Families and individuals should not be detained indefinitely but rather processed quickly and given the proper legal resources that they need.


How Can You Help?

The individuals in this caravan need assistance NOW. It is essential that they get support before reaching the border as well as after. They need humanitarian aid as well as legal assistance.

Identify and collect humanitarian aid and resources: these women and children need food, clothes, shelter, medicine, medical care, mental health resources and legal assistance.

 

 Circulate the facts: Communities need to educate one another on who these families are and why they are fleeing. Share this post with your networks, and help us inform people about the issue.

 

Meet with your representatives: Congress is on recess right now so many representatives are in their home districts. It is essential that constituents express support for the caravan and ask that the government treat them fairly and with compassion.

29 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions: The Caravan Approaching Our Border”

  1. Thank you for presenting the situation as factually as you have been able to discern them-
    with sanity, compassion and practical steps to offset the suffering.

  2. They are required, by international law, to request asylum in the first country they reach. That is NOT the US. It is Mexico. They should STAY IN MEXICO until they are either granted asylum or denied.

    If they are denied, they should be returned to their home country.

    • From the refugeecouncil.org.uk:
      “There is nothing in international law to say that refugees must claim asylum in the first country they reach. A European regulation allows a country such as the UK to return an adult asylum seeker to the first European country they reached. This means that countries on the edge of Europe have responsibility for a lot more asylum seekers than others. Some of the countries through which people travel to get to Europe are not safe places and many have not signed the Refugee Convention, meaning that people who remain there will not get international protection and be able to rebuild their lives.”
      Let’s figure out how to improve our procedures for taking in asylum seekers, and work with governments and NGOs in Central America to reduce the crime and joblessness that motivates people to leave in the first place.

      • Well said! Thoughtful and informative as well as accurate we need more like you in this country …Thank You for educating us
        Tonia Avila
        Las Vegas, NV

    • Mr. Thiemann,
      I could ask you to leave North America, and return to Europe.
      After all, some of my ancestors have been here for thousands of years.
      But that isn’t how my mother raised me.
      David

  3. It does not surprise me that people from Honduras are fleeing and seeking a better life. The concern is more how to vet those seeking asylum. History shows that a massive flow of refuges will contain those who should not be allowed to enter another country. I would like to see a join effort involving Honduras, Mexico and the USA in setting up camps about 10 miles south of the Mexican/US boarder. Monies for funding the camp would come from all three countries, the majority of course from the US. Medical, food, shelter, and legal assistance would be send down. Charities such as LIRS would be allow to aid in the humanitarian efforts. A vetting process would begin, it need not be comprehensive, but enough to know if there are obvious problems, i.e. North Korean, Chinese, or drug cartel individuals. Once an individual has been cleared he or she is bused to the US for the completion of the process. Every NEO operation the US does overseas does not allow someone on the helicopter or boat without vetting.

  4. I support the refugees that are coming here. The crisis they are fleeing we had a hand in creating. These families are walking an incredible 2,500-mile journey in the heat often with just the clothes on their back just to escape horrific danger to find safety and a job for their families. All of us are immigrants unless you are Native American, and none of our ancestors were met by the military when we arrived. We are a nation of immigrants and compassion there is unity in diversity. I will work to help refugees with an open heart.

    • Well Africans were brought here by the military LOL a.k.a. slave owners. Since it was very legal to own slaves. So we have a very different migration process LOL just wanted to put that out there

  5. We need to protect our borders from being overwhelmed as the vetting process begins. That means keeping them out until they are processed and a decision is made. We MUST keep the ones who might try to from sneaking around our ports of entry at all costs!
    Let our military do there job and protect our United States!!!

  6. Every country in the world needs to attend to border and national security. This caravan is mostly comprised of vulernable people fleeing countries made insecure by criminals and cartels. I would like to see the power of the United States put behind improving the root causes of people fleeing their homes. Looking back we can see how the reconstruction of Europe and Japan worked after WW II. Perhaps we could work with our closest neighbors in Latin America to secure liberty and safety at home for their citizens.

    • I would also try to help provide resources if I knew how. I agree that I would like to see our government work together with Mexico and others to eliminate the violence and corruption in Central America

  7. The U.S. provides financial aid to Honduras but the aid hardly makes it to the individuals who need it; instead, it goes into the pockets of the politicians (starting with the president and his family). The president controls the armed forces which he uses to repress protesters and dissidents. So, for starters, the U.S. needs to address the greed and corruption of the people they deal with.

  8. If a person is willing to walk 2000 miles to give her children safety and a better life, let her in! We are a big country. We can handle immigration. In the past, we have welcomed and absorbed many times the number of this caravan, relative to the population of the country at the time.

  9. what does LIRS think of David’s suggestion above? If thousands make it to our border, what is the vetting process?
    what if our troops will not let anyone in?

    • Hi Wilfred, LIRS has worked closely with partners on the border for many years; from what we’ve heard from them in regards to arrivals at the border, this is more or less “business as usual.” The caravan has garnered much attention because of the heavy media coverage leading up to the midterm elections, but this is no new phenomenon. The fact is, this country has the capacity and the systems in place to manage influx in the flow of asylum seekers, and we hope that these individuals will be vetted properly and treated like human beings. LIRS stands poised to offer support and expertise to our government if this capacity proves inadequate — as we did during the family separation crisis — but we will continue to advocate for measured and integrity-based immigration practices.

  10. I support the Migration, welcome, prayers for safe passage, any way I can help I’m another supporter in anyway possible. I just don’t know how or ware to help.

  11. Set up tent cities. Provide food and shelter while their cases are being heard, and the process can be completed. Catch and release is NOT the answer. p.s. tent cities represent a major improvement from what they left. They should be MORE than willing to accept that situation until they can pass the vetting. And then figure out a way to convince all future migrants to use our LEGAL process. THAT way they could even exhibit a sincere respect for our laws, which they don’t seem to have much of currently.

    • I have been thinking about tent cities also. Families kept together, food and safe shelter provided. Vetting handled in an organized fashion, and people moved through the system without undue stress or trauma. We can do this.

  12. I run several afterschool programs in Utah and the youth are trying to create care packages to send to the caravan. Does anyone know of an organization we can send them to?

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