300 Children, 400 Women

Authors:
Phineas Rueckert and Erica Sanchez

Felix Marquez/AP

Pueblo Sin Fronteras. People Without Borders. 

This is the group behind the “caravan of migrants,” a cavalcade of more than 1,000 people bringing attention to the plight of Central American migrants by walking across Mexico — and, in the process, unleashing the ire of US President Donald Trump. 

The group of migrants are fleeing poverty, violence, and political instability, Buzzfeed News reported. About 80% of them come from Honduras, and an estimated 300 are women and 400 are children, according to Irineo Mujica, who directs People Without Borders in Mexico. 

While the group initially consisted of 1,500 people, that number has shrunk to just over 1,000 as the caravan weaves its way toward Mexico City, where it will disband, from the southern border town of Tapachula, where it started. 

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“The truth is, what we’re looking for is a way to live in peace, in tranquillity, with employment,” Bayron Cardona Castillo, a Honduran migrant traveling with his 2-year-old daughter, told the New York Times. “In my case, all I ask is an opportunity, a chance to work and help my family.”

Mexico-US-Migrant-Caravan-Immigration.jpgMigrantes Centroamericanos toman un baño en el Club Deportivo Matías Romero, en el Estado de Oaxaca, México. 3 de Abril, 2018.
Image: Felix Marquez/AP

Another member of the caravan, Colindres Ortega, told Reuters that she had joined the march to show President Trump that “we are not afraid.”

Some migrants, according to reports, plan to continue their journey northward from the capital in order to apply for asylum in the United States. 

Read More: How One Word Could Change the Makeup of Immigrants in the United States

This isn’t the first time People Without Borders has brought together a caravan of migrants — it does so each year around the Easter holiday — but the group probably didn’t anticipate the political firestorm this year’s march kicked off. Since firing off a litany of inflammatory tweets about the caravan of migrants, Trump has vowed to send troops to the US-Mexico border and sparred with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto over immigration. 

The war of words comes in the context of a simmering migration crisis that’s years in the making. 

"Stations of the Cross"

"Stations of the Cross"
Genesis Martinez, 18, originally from Honduras, poses for a picture with her two-month-old son in Oaxaca State, Mexico, April 5, 2018. Martinez joined the caravan after the woman she had been working for threw her out of the house after she gave birth.
Felix Marquez/AP

"Stations of the Cross"

"Stations of the Cross"
Carlos Antonio Aguilera, 14, of Honduras, poses as Central American migrants traveling with the annual "Stations of the Cross" caravan begin their day at a sports club in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State, Mexico, April 3, 2018.
Carlos Antonio Aguilera, 14, of Honduras, poses as Central American migrants traveling with the annual "Stations of the Cross" caravan begin their day at a sports club in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State, Mexico, April 3, 2018.
Felix Marquez/AP

"Stations of the Cross"

"Stations of the Cross"
Hondurans Patsy Guardado, 15, left, and Yosselin Alegria, 19, pose for a portrait, April 3, 2018. Bogged down by logistical problems, large numbers of children, and fears about illness, the caravan was meant to draw attention to the plight of migrants and was never equipped to march all the way to the US border.
Felix Marquez/AP

Immigration from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to the United States increased sharply between 2013 and 2015 because of unprecedented rates of violence in those countries. But President Trump has vowed to slow — and even reverse — migration from Central America in an effort to beef up national security. 

Read More: Mexico Is Offering Legal Aid to Immigrants Detained in the US

In January, Trump ended the Temporary Protected Status program for Salvadorans living in the United States, saying that more than 200,000 who had been living in the country must return home. And in November of last year, he ended a program that had provided a path for the children of migrants from Central America who face violence in their home countries to apply for asylum. 

"All I ask is an opportunity, a chance to work and help my family.”

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal No. 10 — reduced inequalities within and among countries — which calls for “responsible and well-managed migration policies.” You can join us and call on leaders to stand for all people here

Although the caravan will officially stop in Mexico City, that doesn’t mean the journey will end for everyone. Last year, more than 100 migrants who had participated in the caravan applied for asylum in the US. 

But when this year’s group arrives, it will no doubt be just the beginning of another uphill battle for them — and one they will have to fight with little more than the shoes on their feet. 

Mexico-Migrant-Immigration-Trump.jpgUn niño se despide de un amigo desde un autobús que lo llevará a Ciudad de México desde el club deportivo donde los migrantes que viajaban con la caravana anual de "Estaciones de la Cruz" habían acampado, estado de Oaxaca, México, 5 de abril, 2018.
Image: Felix Marquez/AP