Trump lashed out at Mexico over a ‘caravan’ of migrants heading to the US — take a look at the people who got him riled up

President Donald Trump has continuously assailed a group of over 1,000 migrants traveling through Mexico in a days-long series of tweets this week.

In his tweets, Trump has criticized Mexico for what he saw as its failure to stop migration, as well as bashed former President Barack Obama for what Trump viewed as his failings on immigration policy.

The so-called caravan of migrants, an annual procession organized by the activist group Pueblo Sin Frontera, or People without Borders, is meant to raise awareness about the conditions those migrants face in Mexico, where criminal groups and government officials both prey on vulnerable travelers.

The Mexican government said Monday it would break up the caravan by Wednesday, according to Adolfo Flores, a BuzzFeed correspondent traveling with the caravan. A Mexican immigration official told Flores that the decision was not a response to Trump’s tirade, but the US president appeared to take some credit on Tuesday.

“Now the caravan, which is over a thousand people coming in from Honduras, thought they were going to just walk right through Mexico and right through the border,” Trump said at the White House. “I said, ‘I hope you’re going to tell that caravan not to get up to the border,’ and I think they’re doing that.”

Below, you can some of the migrants who drew Trump’s ire:


The migrants have been traveling through southern Mexico since the end of March. The trek, called the Viacrucis Migrante, or Migrant Stations of the Cross, takes place every year around Easter and is meant to provide safe passage for undocumented immigrants.

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Migrants passing through Huehuetan, in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, March 26, 2018.
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Pueblo Sin Frontera/Facebook

More than 1,200 participants, most of them Honduran – including a former member of Congress there – traveled along roadsides and railways in southern Mexico.

While in the past they had jammed onto trains to go north, the last scheduled stop this year was a migrants’ rights symposium in Puebla state in central Mexico – though many seemed likely to continue heading north, either to Mexico City to claim asylum or on to the US.

Source: BuzzFeed, Foreign Policy


“Going alone is risky. You’re risking an accident, getting jumped by robbers, and even your life,” Mateo Juan, a 29-year-old on his third attempt to reach the US, told BuzzFeed. “All of that, and then you don’t get to the United States. The caravan is slower but you know you’re going to get there safely.”

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Migrants heading north gather in Tapachula, in the Mexican state of Chiapas near the border with Guatemala, March 25, 2018.
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Pueblo Sin Frontera/Facebook

Source: BuzzFeed


Some in the group intend to reunite with family members already in Mexico, while others aim to reach the US, requesting asylum there or slipping across the border undetected. A Salvadoran activist traveling with the group as a representative of Pueblo Sin Fronteras said the organization had carried out dozens of such trips over the past 15 years. The Mexican government said it has taken place since 2010.

Source: BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, Reuters


In the past, Mexican authorities haven’t cracked down on marchers because many have already begun the process to get asylum or humanitarian visas in Mexico. “This isn’t a massive influx of irregular migrants,” a Mexican immigration official said. “They can remain in the country and move around while their immigration situation is worked out.”

The Mexican government said Monday it was committed to “legal and orderly” migration and that many of the marchers did not met the necessary legal requirements.

“For this reason, participants in this (caravan) are subject to an administrative migratory procedure, while 400 have already been repatriated to their countries of origin, in strict accordance with the law and respecting their human rights,” the government said.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


This year’s caravan attracted Trump’s attention, and his dismay with their plans manifested itself in tweets railing against the migrants, Mexico, and his predecessor.


“Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the US,” Trump tweeted on Sunday morning. “These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!”


Many countered Trump’s comments, pointing out that Mexico has increased its apprehensions and deportations of unauthorized migrants, most of whom are from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Honduras. Others pointed out that Trump had already rescinded DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and many of those in the caravan wouldn’t have qualified anyway.

Some analysts and observers say Mexico has been too aggressive in its efforts to halt migration, infringing on those migrants’ human rights by denying asylum claims, failing to protect them while in Mexico, and deporting them back to dangerous situations in their home countries.

Source: Business Insider


Trump’s repeated comments gave the caravan a much higher profile, particularly for Mexican officials already concerned with wrapping up NAFTA renegotiations before the country’s presidential election on July 1. Immigration officials said Monday they would begin registering migrants for humanitarian aid and break up the caravan by Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the caravan had halted in Matias Romero, a city in Mexico’s Oaxaca state, about 200 miles north of where they had started.

Source: The Washington Post


“We are scared, just like you,” Irineo Mujica, the head coordinator of the migrant caravan, told the group Tuesday morning. “Now President Donald Trump has said that he wants to hit us with nuclear bombs.”

Source: The Washington Post


Many settled down at a sports center in Matias Romero, telling The Washington Post they’d prefer to get to the US, but would stay in Mexico if allowed to do so. All said that would be better than the violence and poverty that is pervasive in Central America.

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A policeman pours soft drink for a Central American migrant participating in a caravan heading to the US, in Matias Romero, Oaxaca, Mexico, April 2, 2018.
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REUTERS/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Source: The Washington Post


Mexican officials pushed back on Trump’s assertions about their country’s handling of the situation. “We will act with complete sovereignty in enforcing our laws,” said Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida, who said he had spoken with US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about addressing migrant flows.

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Central American migrants participating in a caravan heading to the US at a camp in Matias Romero, Oaxaca, Mexico, April 2, 2018.
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REUTERS/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Source: The Associated Press, Reuters


The march has been criticized by other activists, who said it drew negative public attention and did little to change policy. Alberto Xicoténcatl, director of a migrant shelter in Saltillo, said such a large group was likely to be infiltrated by people trying to extort and threaten migrants. Once attention on the caravan dissipates, he told BuzzFeed, “the people who will deal with the political repercussions are the ones who remain in Mexico.”

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Central American migrants participating in a caravan heading to the US at a camp in Matias Romero, Oaxaca, Mexico April 2, 2018.
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REUTERS/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Source: BuzzFeed


Amid the uncertainty among those left in Matias Romero, the sting of Trump’s comments lingered. “Donald Trump’s words are hurtful to us,” Manuel Flores, a 30-year-old Guatemalan and one of the camp’s self-appointed cooks, told The Post. “We are not extraterrestrials. We are not from another world.”

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Central American migrants participating in a caravan heading to the US receive flavored water from Catholic volunteers in Matias Romero, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico April 2, 2018.
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REUTERS/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Source: The Washington Post