Second migrant caravan gathering in Guatemala, report says

A second migrant caravan is forming at the Honduran border and is expected to follow the larger caravan of more than 7,000 from Central America towards the U.S.-Mexico border, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Guatemalan authorities on Sunday estimated the new group — which gathered in a Guatemalan city near the border of Honduras — to be at 1,000. But the group appears to be growing. The Journal, citing estimates from church-run charities and activists, reported that the group is now made up of about 2,500. By Monday evening the group had entered the eastern Guatemalan town of Chiquimula.

FILE: Honduran migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Chiquimula, Guatemala.

FILE: Honduran migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Chiquimula, Guatemala. (AP)

The new caravan reportedly plans to follow in the footsteps of the larger group, who passed through the southern Mexico border over the weekend. The group is believed to have begun its journey in San Pedro Sula, where the first caravan began with less than 200 participants.

“We know this won’t end in a few days and will be a long progress of migration,” said a migrant shelter worker in Guatemala City, cited by Reuters.

The vast majority of the migrants are from Honduras are escaping crime and extreme poverty. Activists say migrants opt to travel in large numbers to avoid the dangers of crime and human traffickers.

President Donald Trump has declared the first migrant caravan a “national emergency” and has threatened to cut millions in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for their inability to stop migrants from “coming illegally to the U.S.”

The three countries combined received more than $500 million in funding from the U.S. in the fiscal year 2017.

The report of the caravan comes on the heels of a surge in apprehensions of families at the southern border, which has given Trump a fresh talking point to rally his base ahead of next month’s midterm elections.

Nearly a third of all people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border during the budget year 2018 were families and children — about 157,248 out of 395,579 total apprehensions.

Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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