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Trump to cut development aid if second migrant caravan reaches US

Some 3 000 Honduran migrants are attempting to make their way north to the border of the United States. The migrants crossed into Guatemala on Monday, the second large group in six months. 

Published: October 17, 2018, 9:46 am

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    Guatemalan police tried to block the migrants from reaching a customs booth, Reuters reported, in a tense standoff.

    March organiser Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran lawmaker, said the group was later allowed to cross the border however. Guatemala meanwhile denied that they had promoted or endorsed any “irregular migration”.

    The latest attempt by a migrant caravan to seek asylum in the United States is aimed at embarrassing President Trump’s “inhumane” immigration policy ahead of midterm elections.

    Democrats hope that images of struggling women and children will highlight the trampled “human rights” of migrants in mainstream headlines if they are refused at the US border.

    But President Trump on Tuesday has threatened to cut off some $175 million in annual aid to Honduras if their government refuses to stop the advancing migrant caravan.

    “The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the US is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump tweeted.

    US Vice President Mike Pence called on South American  presidents to stop the migrants, offering economic aid and development funding in return for their help.

    The US Embassy in Honduras said on Sunday in a statement “We are seriously concerned about the caravan of migrants traveling north from Honduras, with false promises of entering the United States by those who seek to exploit their compatriots.”

    Many have noted the political timing of the new migrant wave, after the virulently anti-Trump Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering using family separation as a way to discourage people from illegally entering the United States.

    On Saturday, President Trump confirmed the news on separation of migrant families to reporters: “We’re going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down,” adding “If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come.”

    Former acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tom Homan told Fox News that the US should expect weekly caravans of illegal immigrants at the southern US border if Democrats take back control of the House this November.

    “If the Democrats take control of the House, this caravan issue is going to happen every week. It’s just going to keep coming, Homan said, adding: “It should be the biggest issue we’re talking about. And I hope the voters are paying attention to what’s happening.”

    The migrant caravan is organised by Pueblo Sin Fronteras [People without Borders], a group of human rights activists wishing to draw attention to economic migrants posing as “asylum-seekers”. It has been supported by a cross-border coalition of social justice activists, community organisers, faith-based groups, and human rights advocates, also in the US.

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