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Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP via Getty Images
Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP via Getty Images

A new migrant caravan forms as Trump continues deportations

Hondurans are fleeing their country as President Trump is trying to ramp up rapid exits from the U.S.

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A new caravan of over 1,000 people, including children, set off this week from San Pedro Sula, Honduras to the United States. 

Human rights defender, Itsmania Platero, claims that many of the caravan members are people that recently came back deported from the U.S. After continuing to see a lack of opportunity in their native country, they are willing to make the dangerous journey again. 

This is the first caravan to make their way north since the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. Many caravans have consistently attempted to make it to the U.S. since 2017. 

On top of the pandemic, people in Honduras and across Central America were previously  suffering from food shortages during a time when resources were already scarce.

“Central American governments estimated that 2.2 million people have suffered crop losses, mainly due to the drought,” said the World Food Programme.  

According to a report from Telemundo, on Wednesday Honduran police intercepted a caravan of around 300 people that were attempting to cross the border into Guatemala.     

Another group of people managed to make their way into Guatemala through blind spots. They were soon caught by the country’s officials. 

Honduran newspaper, EL PAÍS, said that Guatemalan officials sent them back to Honduras and they were later brought to San Pedro Sula’s central bus station — the same place they set off from on Monday night. 

The Guatemalan military is now protecting its border with Honduras. They are taking these measures to limit the traffic and also currently trying to combat the pandemic with limited resources. 

Guatemalans are worried about receiving Honduran migrants because even though they have twice the population of their southern neighbors, Honduras has more confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to numbers provided by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Even Honduras’ president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, was hospitalized for coronavirus. The president also stated that his wife and two aides became infected as well.  

Both countries have also been the most frequent destinations of deportation flights from the United States during the pandemic. According to The Intercept, Guatemala has received the most at 100 flights and Honduras follows with 94. 

Many deportations have taken place during the pandemic and even more are to be expected after the Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration in allowing for expedited removal of migrants.  

The court’s 7-2 ruling last Thursday means if an asylum seeker fails their initial screenings, they do not need to be granted the opportunity to make their case in front of a federal judge and are now permitted to have a quick deportation. 

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were the only dissenters. 

After the Supreme Court decision, a federal judge that Trump appointed, Timothy J. Kelly, delivered a blow to his “Asylum Rule.” 

The rule did not allow migrants to have protection if they did not apply from a country that was en route to the southern border. This meant that many migrants already waiting on either side of the border would not have been eligible for asylum because many did not apply until they reached the border. 

“The Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said late Tuesday night that the Trump administration illegally put in effect the rule by not allowing the public to weigh in,” reported The New York Times

Even though President Trump is going to increase deportations and Central Americans migrants are having an even harder time making their journey because of the global pandemic, the U.S. is still going to continue to have military forces present on the border through September 2021

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has allowed up to 4,000 troops to remain on the border.

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