Aiexpress – A group of around 500 migrants from Honduras, who had set out on a journey towards the United States, dispersed on Sunday upon entering Guatemala, according to the Guatemalan Migration Institute.
Authorities were monitoring three border crossings and reported that a segment of the caravan moved a few kilometers (miles) into Guatemalan territory. However, migration officials intervened and processed the migrants, prioritizing the minors.
The immigration agency stated that force was not employed and communication played a crucial role. Individuals who possessed the required documentation were permitted to proceed as Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador have unrestricted movement among them. Those who lacked the necessary documentation were escorted back to Honduras.
The exact number of individuals who chose to stay or return was not provided by the authorities.
On Saturday, a caravan departed from the bus terminal of San Pedro Sula in Honduras, marking the first group to leave the country since January 2022.
Most migrants travel through Central America and Mexico in small groups, utilizing various modes of transportation and smuggling networks. Caravans, on the other hand, are a less common occurrence.
In late 2018 and 2019, the largest groups of migrants departed from San Pedro Sula and managed to travel as far as the southern U.S. border. However, the outbreak of the pandemic led to the United States exerting pressure on Mexico and Central American governments to enhance their measures in deterring migrants heading northward.
Caravans have been halted in southern Mexico and, subsequently, in Guatemalan territory since then.
In 2023, the hemisphere experienced an unprecedented surge in migrant numbers. Towards the end of the year, arrests for illegal crossings into the U.S. from Mexico reached a peak, with U.S. authorities recording up to 10,000 illegal crossings over several days in December. However, this number significantly decreased to 2,500 in the first few days of January.