The First Caravan of 2020 Moves Toward Mexico

By Jason Peña on January 17, 2020

Guatemalan authorities, accompanied by Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents, dispersed a group of 300 migrants traveling with a caravan from Honduras. The migrants were returned to the border of Honduras by bus, putting an end to their journey to the United States.

Another group of 300 migrants who had traveled from a shelter in Entre Rios to Morales, Guatemala, were stopped by law enforcement for document inspection. Not having the proper documents to be in Guatemala legally, they were bused to a border checkpoint to register, as required by the Central American Free Mobility Agreement (CA-4). The Mexican newspaper El Infinanciero reported that a Guatemalan police officer claimed that the United States had subsidized the cost of the transportation.

Guatemala is employing enforcement measures and tactics similar to those the Mexican authorities implemented in the past with migrant apprehensions. However, media reports that, unlike in the past two years, the majority of the migrants have split off into small groups to avoid law enforcement. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf confirmed this change, adding that the decline in migrants and organization is due to the agreements that the United States has negotiated with Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

The migrants continue on toward Mexico where “The Mexican government will be able to stop the caravan and break it up with a combination of National Guard, federal and state police, and interior road blocks,” said Todd Bensman, the Center's senior national security fellow. Bensman has been on the 541-mile Guatemala-Mexico border since January 8 assessing the Mexican military effort on mass illegal immigration and "extra-continental" migration. All of Bensman’s ongoing work, including examples of the work of the Mexican national guard, law enforcement, and immigration officers, can be found at CIS Reports from America’s Other Southern Border: Guatemala-Mexico.