Central America: Migrant Caravan Information Bulletin N° 2

The situation

People from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador have been displaced from their homes through a combination of gang violence, extreme drought, high unemployment and economic hardship.

Since mid-October 2018, several organized groups of migrants known as "caravans" left northern Central America, mainly from Honduras and El Salvador, making their way north, to the United States (US) increasing the transit rates of migrants in Guatemala, with unsuitable conditions and severe dangers of violence and discrimination.

The migratory route from Guatemala to the northern border between Mexico and the US has for years been one of the most dangerous, violent and violating steps of migrants' rights.

From October 2018 to date, "caravans" have become a new modality of migration that attracts people due to the hypothesis that offers security to migrants and visibility on the route where many Central American migrants have disappeared or been kidnapped, and a way to evade the high price of hiring a smuggler to aid passage to the United States border.

People who have decided to move in these caravans have presented needs along the routes, which had to be treated by different organizations mostly in the border region of Mexico. Some governments and international agencies have organized shelters and medical tents, but the health of those in the caravan has deteriorated.

According to local aid groups, there has been a rise in conjunctivitis, respiratory illness, fever, and diarrhea as well as people traveling presenting dehydration, sunburn, blisters and swollen feet from walking dozens of miles a day without proper footwear.

The Mexican government intercepted a new caravan of about 500 migrants who had crossed the border with Guatemala and were traveling to the United States on June 5, 2019. Some 132,887 people were arrested in May after entering illegally, 32% more than in April 2019.

Some of the migrants mobilizing have failed to reach the planned destination or have to decided stay in some of the transit countries facing different scenarios. Up to 28 February, 2019, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Organization of Migration (IOM), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reports 9,506 people deported from the US, Mexico and Central America, including 1,421 Honduran children and assisted 1,168 voluntary returns.