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First migrant caravan of the year stopped at Guatemalan border

Many migrants confronted Guatemalan officers at the border

January 17, 2022 1:53pm

Updated: January 17, 2022 2:25pm

Hundreds of migrants coming from Honduras and Nicaragua were stopped at the Guatemalan border by authorities, as they attempted to make their way to the United States.

Around 600 migrants, including women and children, formed the first migrant caravan of the year. The Caravan left San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Saturday, days before leftist President-elect Xiomara Castro assumes power in the Central American country.

The caravan was prevented from crossing the border by Honduran police, who had formed roadblocks to prevent their passage. Around 300 of them reached the Guatemalan province of Izabal.

Tensions at the border rose as some of the migrants threw objects at Guatemalan security forces, who in turn pushed them back with riot shields, according to local newspaper Prensa Libre. Several police officers were injured, according to Guatemalan authorities.

Guatemalan police detained many of the migrants. Members of the caravan who wish to proceed will be required to show identification documents, as well as COVID-19 vaccination records and a negative test. According to the Guatemalan Institute of Migration, authorities have already identified 36 migrants who do not meet these standards and will be sent back to Honduras.

“People are being returned, everything in order, humanely,” said the Guatemalan Migration Institute’s General Director Carlos Emilio Morales. “We are protecting our borders; we are protecting the health of all Guatemalans.”

The caravan is also raising concerns for border patrol agents in the United States, who have seen a dramatic increase in migrants crossing the border.

From September 2020 to September 2021, border patrol agents encountered more than 1.6 million undocumented migrants at the border, four times more than the previous fiscal year.