In a Tuesday tweet President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off all U.S. financial aid to the country of Honduras if its government does not stop a migrant “caravan” from to the United States.
The president tweeted.
“The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!”
The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
The president was responding to widely publicized media reports about a large group of Hondurans who set out on a journey from their country, hoping to find asylum in the United States.
“A caravan of over 1,300 people left yesterday from Honduras, beginning a journey to the United States where members of the caravan hope to seek asylum as refugees. The group was composed primarily of families, including many women carrying babies. The beginning of their journey was marked by the desperation which underlies their struggle for existence in their home country where life has become almost intolerable.”
These poor people hoping to reach the United States crossed the border into Guatemala on Monday. Members of the caravan have been interviewed by journalists and they all said they are fleeing poverty and violence in their home country.
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the U.S. gave $175 million in aid to Honduras in fiscal 2017.
Donald Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration the central feature of his presidency, and many people believe it was his emphasis on immigration that got him elected to the presidency.
He says that migrants bring crime and drugs into the country and he is still highlighting the issue before November’s midterm elections. He still believes this wil fire up his conservative base of supporters.
Trump is now considering a new policy that would again separate undocumented parents from their children. His position is that this is the only way to reduce the high numbers of families coming illegally into the United States.
“We’re going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down,” Trump told reporters on Saturday. “If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come.”
According to caravan organizer Bartolo Fuentes the people are part of what he calls the “March of the Migrant.” He said they are planning to walk from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras through the country of Guatemala and into Mexico. Once they get there he said they will request refugee status which would allow them to stay in Mexico. They also will request a visa allowing them to pass through Mexico to the U.S. border.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 16, 2018
Last spring another caravan of migrants did the same thing and received a huge amount of attention from the news media.
The publicity surrounding the immigrants’ difficulties led to President Trump implementing new tough border security measures. He also said that the migrants would not be allowed to enter the United States.
People in the current migrant caravan explained their actions by saying they were leaving because of death threats, extortion and violence from powerful street gangs in their home countries. According to published reports, over 64 percent of Honduran households live in poverty, and the country has one of the world’s highest murder rates.
“There is no work and so much violence that you can get killed walking down the street,” said Javier Solis, 25, who said he has not found work in a year and wants to enter the United States. On a previous attempt, he was deported to Honduras upon reaching Mexico.
Nobody knows if Donald Trump’s latest threats against the impoverished Central American nation will work. But if history is a guide, it will not work because the people trying to walk to the U.S. to seek refugee status are truly desperate and have no other options.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.