An estimated 1,300 men, women and children have begun the long march from Honduras north through Guatemala and Mexico, to what they hope will be a successful crossing of the border into the United States.
This new challenge to President Donald Trump’s toughening of U.S. immigration policies comes just days after Vice President Mike Pence told the Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America that illegal immigration from Honduras is up 61 percent and from Guatemala by 75 percent.
The group was organized using social media, according to Reuters, which quoted Bartolo Fuentes, the alleged organizer, who said those in the march will request refugee status once they reach Mexico or a pass to allow them to continue north to the U.S. border.
“There is no work and so much violence that you can get killed walking down the street.”
San Pedro Sula, the Honduran town from which the new marchers started, is wracked with poverty and crime, including murder, as competing gangs wrestle for power and control.
“There is no work and so much violence that you can get killed walking down the street,” Javier Solis, 25, told Reuters.
He said he has not found work in a year and wants to enter the United States.
This new massed movement of migrants fleeing Central America mirrors a similar caravan in April that was assembled by a U.S.-based group known as Pueblo Sin Fronteras or “People Without Borders.”
The group reportedly is linked to another known as the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, which is in turn the work of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and the American Immigration Council.
The latter two groups are funded in part by billionaire liberal activist George Soros.
Pence told Central American leaders at the conference last week that the U.S. would provide more support for efforts to improve economic opportunity and social conditions if they would do the same.
“If you do more, I’m here to say on behalf of the president of the United States and the American people, we’ll do more,” Pence told Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, President Jimmy Morales of Guatemala, and Vice President Óscar Ortiz of El Salvador, according to Fox News.