Sputnik has discussed the caravan of Latin American migrants hoping to reach the United States with Mark Jones, Chair in Latin American Studies and the Director of the Master of Global Affairs Program at Rice University.
Sputnik: In your view, what has prompted the migrants to take this hazardous dangerous journey from Honduras towards the United States? What's initiated this?
Mark Jones: Well, the migration patterns from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are nothing new; even these caravans are not all that new. What's prompting them to flee is primarily a combination of two separate forces.
Sputnik: And why have they chosen the United States as their destination knowing the policy towards migrants under President Trump? In your opinion, is there some kind of underhand story behind this because this has been clearly reported for the last couple of days. It's obviously doing the rounds, it's very, very significant in its news worthiness. Is it almost being underwritten and instigated by a party, I'm trying to be Devil's Advocate, within the United States who are anti-Trump and obviously it's got implications with the midterms as well, what is the underlying story here?
Mark Jones: I think, one, these caravans do occur. What's different is that this one is receiving far more media coverage and it's a little larger. I think on one hand you have left-wing activists in Honduras attempting to use the caravan and the publicity surrounding the caravan to undermine the presidency of Juan Orlando Hernandez, the current Honduran President.
Sputnik: And how successful has Mexico's efforts been to stop the caravan and dispatch police to the border? Where would those people go from there? There's all sorts of questions and implications with regard to this news story?
Mark Jones: Normally, when there's not so much publicity these individuals cross through Mexico without too much difficulty, at least no harassment by Mexican police. Now, they are often subject to extortion, attacks and robberies by Mexican gangs as well as gangs that are affiliated with the police.
Now what they've said is effectively that anyone who does not have a passport will be either turned back or detained, but any Honduran with an actual valid passport, which many of them don't have, those individuals will be allowed to come through.
Sputnik: How likely is President Trump to dispatch military forces to the border with regard to this particular situation on the Mexican border? Is that likely to happen?
They're all surrendering as soon as they cross the border; it's processing them and then figuring out what to do with the politically sensitive issue of separating parents from their children which is the devil of the Trump administration for the past year, and the Trump administration wants to effectively prevent these individuals from coming into the United States but knows that it's found it politically implausible to separate parents from their children but the only option to separating parents from their children is effectively releasing the parents and the children into the population and allowing them to remain in the United States until their court case is held.
And given the backlog of our immigration court system that can be up to two, two and a half years before they actually come to a judge to determine whether their asylum claim has merit or does not have merit.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mark Jones and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.