SAN PEDRO SULA – About 200 migrants started strolling up a freeway towards the border with Guatemala late Wednesday, two days earlier than a migrant caravan was scheduled to depart San Pedro Sula.
Some 75 cops wearing riot gear waited at a degree farther alongside the freeway on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula. One officer mentioned the intention was to cease the migrants for violating a pandemic-related curfew, verify their paperwork and ensure they weren’t touring with youngsters that weren’t their very own.
Later, the migrants stopped about two kilometers wanting the ready police and bedded down for the evening beneath and round a freeway overpass. They deliberate to attend till the curfew expired at 5 a.m. earlier than persevering with.
The migrants confronted the extra problem of governments that agreed earlier this week to implement immigration legal guidelines at their borders.
For weeks, a name for a brand new caravan departing Jan. 15 has circulated on social networks. In earlier caravans, smaller teams have usually left sooner than the primary caravan. Extra migrants have been anticipated to converge on San Pedro Sula on Thursday.
Ariel Villega, 35, from the city of Ocotepeque, was strolling along with his spouse and 10-year-old son. He mentioned they deliberate to get to the Corinto border crossing and wait there for the remainder of the caravan to reach.
“We’ve received all the things, the passport and the COVID take a look at,” Villega mentioned. He mentioned they have been leaving as a result of he couldn’t discover work. “First the pandemic and later the 2 (hurricanes) left us in disaster.”
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Wednesday evening decreed a “state of prevention” alongside the nation’s border with Honduras. The decree famous the specter of migrants coming into with out required documentation and with out following pandemic-related screening on the border. Guatemala is requiring proof of a adverse COVID-19 take a look at. The decree mentioned greater than 2,000 nationwide police and troopers can be stationed on the border.
The Mexican authorities mentioned Wednesday that it and 10 different international locations in North and Central America are fearful concerning the well being dangers of COVID-19 amongst migrants with out correct paperwork.
The assertion by the 11-member Regional Convention on Migration means that Mexico and Central America might proceed to show again migrants on the premise of the perceived dangers of the pandemic.
The group “expressed concern over the publicity of irregular migrants to conditions of excessive danger to their well being and their lives, primarily in the course of the well being emergency.”
On Monday, representatives from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador met within the Honduran metropolis of Corinto on the Guatemala border to debate coordination on migration.
In a joint assertion, the governments expressed their dedication to guard human rights, but additionally known as for migration to be orderly and authorized.
When a whole lot of Hondurans tried to type a caravan final month, authorities stopped them earlier than they even reached the Guatemala border. Different tried caravans final yr have been damaged up by Guatemalan authorities earlier than they reached Mexico.
Strain emigrate has solely been constructing. Central America was hit with two Class 4 hurricanes in November, devastating a area already scuffling with the pandemic. The storms destroyed crops, shuttered companies and displaced hundreds.
Migrants have additionally expressed hope that they may obtain a hotter welcome on the U.S. border beneath the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who takes workplace subsequent week.
Related Press writers Sonny Figueroa in Guatemala Metropolis and Mark Stevenson in Mexico Metropolis contributed to this report.
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