Guatemala Says It Will Detain Around 2,000 Migrants Bound For The US

Guatemala says it will detain and return a migrant caravan of around 2,000 that entered the country from Honduras on Thursday, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei vowed the caravan would be sent back to Honduras over concerns about coronavirus, the AP reported. The caravan overpowered Guatemalan border guards who reportedly made little attempt to control the situation, according to the AP.

“The order has been given to detain all those who entered illegally, and return them to the border of their country,” Giammattei said, the AP reported. “We will not allow any foreigner who has used illegal means to enter the country, to think that they have the right to come and infect us and put us at serious risk.”

Giammattei said that some constitutional rights would be suspended in provinces the caravan might go through in order to detain them, the AP reported. Migrants were asked to provide negative coronavirus tests and to register at the border, but most reportedly pushed through the border without doing so.

Interior checkpoints have been organized by the Guatemalan military to check for the migrant’s documents, the AP reported.

A majority of the migrants were young men, according to the AP. One woman in the group accompanied by her daughter and granddaughter said she found out about the caravan on Facebook.

Migrants from Central America began to travel in large groups as a method of safety and to evade paying smugglers, the AP reported. Though the likelihood that a caravan makes it to the U.S. border is low, and crossing the border will be nearly impossible due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the AP.

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