Guatemala Gets Serious About Detaining Migrants and Halts Caravan Coming from Honduras
According to a report by the Associated Press, Guatemala announced that it would detain and deport approximately 2,000 Hondurans on October 1, 2020.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei promised that the caravan would be compelled to return to Honduras due to the Guatemalan state’s concerns about the Wuhan virus.
“The order has been given to detain all those who entered illegally, and return them to the border of their country,” Giammattei declared, according to the AP report. “We will not allow any foreigner who has used illegal means to enter the country, to think that they have the right to come and infect us and put us at serious risk.”
In order to halt the caravan, Giammattei revealed that a number of constitutional rights would be suspended in provinces the caravan was expected to reach. At the border, migrants were asked to supply negative Wuhan virus tests and register themselves. Nevertheless, most migrants apparently crossed the Guatemalan border without complying with these demands.
The AP reported that the Guatemalan military set up interior checkpoints to look at migrant’s documents. In addition, the bulk of the migrants were young men. A woman in the group who brought her daughter and granddaughter said she learned about the caravan via Facebook.
Per the AP, the Central American migrants started traveling in large groups as a means to safely travel and avoid paying predatory smugglers. The possibility of the caravan making its way to the U.S. border appears to be slim due to Central American and Mexican governments’ willingness to play ball with the U.S. and start tightening their borders. This was evidenced by Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Under this policy, southern border crossers claiming asylum would be ordered to return to Mexico or Central American countries while waiting for their asylum requests to be processed.
One aspect of migration reform policy that must be exploited is interstate cooperation to guarantee stable borders within the Western Hemisphere. Fluid borders in America’s backyard will bring about mass institutional disruption and could wind up exporting Latin America’s perennial state of dysfunction to the states.
The Trump administration is correct in engaging with Central American governments to tackle these issues.