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Caravan approaches U.S. border from Mexico

Approximately 5,000 people seek asylum and journey through Mexico towards the United States. Hungry, exhausted and scared for their lives, they keep on despite many obstacles.

Originating in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Oct. 13, a small group of around 160 people banded together with the intent of seeking asylum in the U.S. As the group moved towards their destination, people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador joined, creating a massive caravan of migrants.

While facing starvation and the risk of losing everything to attain asylum in the U.S., the migrants are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in their home countries according to BBC News.

Mangie Guevara, a J student who spent 19 years living in Honduras, said, “Poverty in Honduras is extreme, there is violence, there are not opportunities to study because you need to help mom and dad provide food for the house. It’s just a pattern, you can’t study and you need to have easy access to work, but the only opportunities for people without education is to join a gang or just not have a job and be homeless.”

Guevara attended public school but most of her friends worked or lived in the garbage dump. She attributes part of the poverty to the Honduran government: “It’s insane how wealthy the [Honduran] politicians are, and then seeing the poverty and these people trying to escape their country.”

The caravan reached Mexico City on Nov. 4, according to BBC. Initially the Mexican government was unhelpful to the migrants due to Donald Trump’s threats of cutting off foreign aid if the caravan made it through to the U.S., but recently Mexican government officials began helping the elders, women and children in Mexico City by providing them with food and places to sleep other than the street.

According to The Washington Post, Mexico offered work visas, asylum and refuge to the migrants in the caravan. While many of the caravan will stay in Mexico, others are determined to reach the United States.

In an interview with Fox News last Monday, Donald Trump said, “If they apply for asylum, we’re going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place. We’re going to hold them. We’re going to build tent cities … We’re not going to build structures and spend all of these hundreds of millions of dollars … They’re going to be very nice and they’re going to wait, and if they don’t get asylum they get out.”

In the same day that Trump was interviewed by Fox News, Defense Department officials announced that 5,100 military troops will guard the U.S.–Mexico border, even though the caravan is not likely to arrive at the border for a couple weeks.

“I understand why the United States is reacting like that” Miguel Hernandez, a student from El Salvador, said, “At the same time, I don’t agree with it.”

Guevara said, “In the long run it might cost something to the economy and to society in general, but Trump’s been saying they are all coming to our country and they bring violence, they bring poverty, they bring all these things that we don’t want here, but he’s not looking beyond that, he’s not talking to the Honduran president.”

The route the caravan is traveling—or where they plan to cross the border—has not been specified; however, with an average of 20-30 miles per day, they still have a couple weeks before reaching the U.S.

Whether or not these people gain asylum, Guevara said it is important to remember that they are people, not invaders: “They need their kids to go to school, their teenagers to find jobs, but no one is helping them in Honduras.”