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Yes, One Large Group of People Is Walking to the US Border

This is the 'caravan' Trump is complaining about in Mexico
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2018 8:33 AM CDT
What to Know About Trump's 'Caravan' Worries
Central American migrants organized by the "Pueblo Sin Fronteras" group mill around a sports center during the group's few-days stop in Matias Romero, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Monday, April 2, 2018.   (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

(Newser) – President Trump returned to one of his favorite recent themes on Tuesday, complaining about a "caravan" of immigrants in Mexico moving toward the US border. "The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our 'Weak Laws' Border, had better be stopped before it gets there," Trump tweeted. "Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen. Congress MUST ACT NOW!" So what exactly is this "caravan" Trump is worried about? Some details:

  • The caravan: There is indeed a group of about 1,200 people, mostly from Honduras, walking north through Mexico, and BuzzFeed reports that most hope to reach the US and request asylum. (See photos of the group via Quartz.) The caravan left on March 25 and is organized by a group known as People Without Borders, which has organized similar caravans in previous years, per Time.

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  • Why the caravan? Essentially, strength in numbers. The people in the caravan, many of whom say they are fleeing violence and political unrest in Honduras, are moving as a large group not only to draw attention to their plight, but to make it harder for criminals and immigration officials to stop them. In a press release, People Without Borders asks Mexico and the US to "respect our rights as refugees and our right to dignified work."
  • Has Trump's ear: The New York Times reports that Trump is a fan of frequent Fox guest Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Council, and Trump's recent tweets often voice the same hardline views Judd expresses. For instance, when Judd criticized the "catch and release" program on Fox, the president quickly followed suit.
  • Catch and release: Under this policy, unlawful immigrants detained at the border are sometimes released into the custody of relatives in the US to await trial. NBC reports that it's not in widespread practice, but Trump (see this White House release) disagrees. He has vowed to stop the program, but a Reuters report last year shows it's a complicated issue, in part because immigration authorities don't have the space to hold everyone.
  • No real DACA link: Trump has complained that immigrants such as those in the caravan are "trying to take advantage" of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to gain entry to the US, but NBC explains that's not really the case. Asylum and DACA are different things, and nobody currently crossing the border can even apply for the latter thanks to court orders.
  • Mexico under pressure: Reuters takes a look at how Trump's criticism of Mexico has the nation walking a fine line as it ponders how to deal with the caravan amid ongoing NAFTA negotiations. On the horizon: A left-wing candidate (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) is leading the polls ahead of the July presidential election, which could lead to more confrontational relations with the US.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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