Honduras Responds to U.S.-Bound Caravan

By Kausha Luna on April 4, 2018

Over Easter weekend, over 1,000 Central Americans began a trek through Mexico, aiming to reach the U.S.-Mexico border and request asylum in the United States.

On April 3, President Trump tweeted that foreign aid to Honduras was at risk if the caravan composed of mostly Honduran migrants made it to the U.S. border.

In turn, the Honduran government published a press release emphasizing the decrease in Honduran emigration. Published by the Honduran Foreign Ministry, it reads (my translation):

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation affirms that Honduras has attacked the causes of migration in an integral manner, recognizing that this is a multi-causal phenomenon for which the sending and receiving States have a shared but differentiated responsibility.

As a result of our efforts, between 2014 and 2017 Honduras has steadily reduced the rates of irregular migration to the United States. Especially in the year 2017, when there was a 30.8 percent decrease in relation to the year 2016, the lowest figure since 2014.

Likewise, Honduras has created a created a climate conducive to economic growth, which measured 4.8 percent in 2017. [Honduras] has decisively fought drug trafficking and organized crime. [Honduras] achieved a significant reduction of 42.8 points in the homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants. [Honduras] has reduced the flow of drugs in to the Honduran territory by 72 percent. [Honduras] has strengthened its border security, also reducing the flow of irregular foreign migrants to the United States.

Additionally, the Honduran government provided two graphics indicating a decrease in Honduran deportations from Mexico and the United States.

In addition to the press release, Honduran Foreign Minister María Dolores Agüero said that Honduran consulates in Mexico are ready to help Honduran nationals participating in the caravan. The foreign minister added that under no circumstances does the Honduran government promote illegal migration. Moreover, Agüero noted that the issue of migration has been a top priority for the administration of President Juan Orlando Hernández. The Honduran minister also emphasized that, "In the Northern Triangle we have proposed to work together with the United States and Mexico in the Alliance for Prosperity Plan to create the necessary conditions in the countries so that these people do not make the decision to [emigrate] to the United States."

In 2014, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador introduced the Alliance for Prosperity Plan, which aims to reduce emigration from the region by prioritizing a cause-based approach to address illegal immigration. The plan has been partially subsidized by the United States. The U.S. Congress allocated $750 million in the FY 2016 budget for development assistance for Central America under this initiative. In FY 2017, Congress included a reduced amount of $655 million. For the FY 2018 budget, Congress allocated $600 million for the Alliance for Prosperity Plan, $140 million above the amount requested by the Trump administration.

Prior to the threat of losing U.S. foreign aid, Honduras had remained silent on the issue of the caravan. Like in the case of Mexico, it took a tweet from President Trump to get the Honduran government to address the caravan of Central American migrants.