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‘Mother of all caravans’ forming in Central America, Mexico says

Hundreds of protesters march through downtown Tijuana on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, demanding an end to the Central American immigrant caravans passing through Mexico from the border with Guatemala, and calling for the expulsion of migrants already in the country. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
March 29, 2019

Another massive Central American migrant caravan is headed for Mexico in what could be the largest one yet.

Mexico’s Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said the “mother of all caravans” is forming in Central America in preparation for the trek to the U.S. border, the Associated Press reported Friday.

“We have information that a new caravan is forming in Honduras, that they’re calling ‘the mother of all caravans,’ and they are thinking it could have more than 20,000 people,” Sanchez Cordero said on Wednesday.

However, activists and a Honduras official both deny reports about the caravan.

“There is no indication of such a caravan,” Honduras’ Deputy Foreign Minister Nelly Jerez said. “This type of information promotes that people leave the country.”

Last week, a caravan of approximately 2,500 migrants from Central America and Cuba was trekking through Mexico, Mexico News Daily reported.

Sanchez Cordero added that the Mexican government has evidence that criminal groups have been involved in trafficking migrants in exchange for money.

“Imagine the size, the dimension of this migration flow, which is sometimes human trafficking by organized crime, the business of this trafficking … is several billion dollars,” she said. “Each migrant represents between U.S. $2,000 and $6,000 for them.”

The Mexican government has granted more than 10,000 humanitarian visas permitting migrants to stay in Mexico for up to one year; however, most of the caravan members instead elected to seek asylum in the United States, Mexico Daily News noted.

Earlier this month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified on the growing border crisis and said an estimated one million illegal immigrants would be apprehended at the southern border this year.

“The agency is now on track to apprehend more migrants crossing illegally in the first six months of this fiscal year than the entirety of FY17, and at the current pace we are on track to encounter close to one million illegal aliens at our southern border this year,” Nielsen said at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.

Mexico insists it is working hard against the trafficking crisis and attempting to block the flow of migrants to the U.S. border.

“We are going to do everything we can to help. We don’t in any way want a confrontation with the U.S. government,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said. “It is legitimate that they are displeased and they voice these concerns.”