Third Migrant Caravan Heads Toward Mexico as Second Caravan Gets Violent at Border

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
October 30, 2018 Updated: October 30, 2018

A third migrant caravan is heading north toward Mexico and the United States, as the second caravan turned violent and unruly at the border of Guatemala and Mexico, wounding police officers as migrants tore down barriers and ignored warnings.

Most of the focus has been on the main migrant caravan currently in southern Mexico working its way north, but the second caravan isn’t far behind after reaching Mexico’s southern border, and now a third one has recently received official help from the El Salvadorian government.

The roughly 1,500 migrants in the third caravan, mostly El Salvadorians and Hondurans, were given an official map that includes directions for transit routes, free phone services, food depots, and healthcare offices, Guatemalan officials told investigative reporter Sara Carter, who published a picture of the map.

The map is titled “Mensajes Para Personas Migrantes,” or Messages for the Migrant People, and lists hundreds of stops from Honduras to the southern border of the United States.

The group departed from El Salvador’s capital San Salvador on Oct. 28, and by Sunday afternoon had reached the border with Guatemala, reported Reuters.

The group was mainly organized through WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social networks, “inspired by the larger group in Mexico,” according to the wire agency. Several migrants part of the third caravan said they were headed to the United States.

Second migrant caravan enters Mexico, headed to U.S.
The second caravan Central American migrants bound for the U.S border wade in mass across the Suchiate River, that connects Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on Oct. 29, 2018. The first migrant caravan group was able to cross the river on rafts—an option now blocked by Mexican Navy river and shore patrols. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)

Violence at Border

As the third caravan made its way north, and the first caravan tried demanding that Mexican authorities provide them with transportation after rejecting an asylum offer, the second caravan reached the southern border of Mexico after traveling through Guatemala.

The second caravan has some 3,000 people, The Epoch Times reported previously. The first two caravans are mostly made up of migrants from Honduras and around 75 percent of them are men.

The group turned to violence on Oct. 28, to force its way into Mexico after Federal Police tried to stop them from entering the country without going through the proper procedures.

Alfonso Navarrete Prida, the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, said that video footage and photographs from the scene clearly show migrants filling bottles with gasoline and lighting them on fire, then tossing the Molotov cocktails at Mexican officers.

He said that criminal elements have been identified as mixing into the migrant caravans, echoing a finding by U.S. officials. He said that he received intelligence indicating the criminals were giving money to women and children to go to the front of the caravan as it tried to barge into Mexico.

Third migrant caravan starts as second caravan gets violent
The second migrant caravan got violent at the Guatemala-Mexico border on Oct. 29, 2018, as a third migrant caravan reached Guatemala after starting in El Salvador. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)

After ripping down border barriers on the Guatemalan side of the border, the caravan surged onto the bridge separating the countries and threw rocks at the Federal Police while also hitting them with sticks, reported The Associated Press. Failing to cross by bridge, hundreds took to the Suichiate River to illegally cross into Mexico and were met by officers in a standoff at the riverbank.

That group and others on the bridge were both eventually able to move further into Mexico by Monday morning, reported EFE. Prida said that the police officers weren’t armed and were trying to make the migrants enter Mexico “in a peaceful and orderly manner,” but migrants ignored them, as did the first caravan.

Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured during the attacks from the migrants and Mexican authorities said two Hondurans were arrested after trying to shoot at police officers in the border town of Ignacio Zaragoza.

Some migrants appear to be heeding the warnings; nearly 2,000 have requested asylum in Mexico while 550 others have requested to be deported back to their home countries, Prida said. Estimates of the sizes of the caravans have varied but been as high as 14,000 across all three, with the first one being estimated as high as 8,500.

Epoch Times Photo
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan (R) and Commander U.S. Northern Command Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy update the media about securing the southwest border in anticipation of the migrant caravan approaching the United States, during a press conference in Washington, on Oct. 29, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

US Deploys Troops

The three caravans moving north have prompted American officials to take action, with the latest move being the deployment of 5,200 active-duty troops to the southern border of the United States to prepare for the arrival of the caravans.

President Donald Trump and top officials in his administration have repeatedly said that the caravans will not enter the United States.

Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy from the U.S. Northern Command said on Oct. 29, that the troops who are normally armed will continue to be armed and will help Border Patrol officers fortify southern Texas, Arizona, and California by securing ports of entry and key gaps around them.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said that the first caravan has already made unlawful entry across two international borders, and the second “has deployed violent and dangerous tactics against both Guatemalan and Mexican border-security teams.”

Illegal aliens at border
Border Patrol Agents have illegal aliens remove their shoelaces and belongings before loading them in a van for transport in Hidalgo County, Texas, on May 26, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

McAleenan noted that the migrants have already been offered asylum in Mexico and will be apprehended if they reach the United States and charged accordingly.

“If you are fleeing alleged persecution at home, you have arrived at a safe place to make your claim,” he said. “If you’re an economic migrant seeking to join family members in the United States, you should return home and apply for appropriate visa.”

Salvadorian officials echoed the sentiment, with Salvadoran Vice Foreign Minister Liduvina Margarin warning against migrants attempting a journey despite the map given out by her government. “This route is not safe, you will not be able to enter the United States like you think,” she said.


Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.