Guatemalan and Honduran soldiers will be deployed to prevent new US-bound migrant caravans from advancing, military officials said, amid growing desperation among those seeking to cross and signs that some groups will depart later in January.
Two devastating hurricanes late last year along with severe economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic have pushed millions of people in the already-poor region closer to hunger, leading to a steady rise in US-bound migration through Mexico.
In the Mexican border town of Tapachula, which sits just north of Guatemala, frustrated groups of migrants who had already succeeded in crossing the border pleaded with officials to provide them with humanitarian visas to let them cross.
“We just want them to give us an answer,” shouted one distraught migrant, Suset Palmares, a Cuban who wore a face mask like most others around her.
Mexican soldiers decked out in riot gear stood nearby as migration officials with bullhorns ordered migrants gathered on a street and blocking traffic to disperse.
In online forums, many Honduras have indicated they plan to leave next weekend in a new caravan, which has caught the attention of US officials who have called on the region’s governments to stop them.
Many migrants in recent years have chosen to travel by caravan because being part of a large group offers protection from criminals who might prey on them, even though traveling alone is often faster.