While the world is absorbed in the Coronavirus drama, yet another caravan of illegal immigrants is heading north to the United States from Central America. The group departed recently from the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula and is making its way to Guatemala en route to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The final destination is the U.S., according to a Mexican news report that reveals the caravan has some 500 Central Americans but is expected to grow along the way. “They left their country due to a lack of work opportunities and prevailing violence,” according to the Spanish-language article published a few days ago.
The illegal immigrants are expected to arrive late this week in the Guatemalan city of Tecún Umán, a heavily transited border crossing into Mexico. Earlier this month a Guatemalan newspaper reported that, despite the global Coronavirus pandemic, cross border travel between Mexico and Guatemala continues full throttle without any sort of health screenings. It is very unlikely the new group of illegal immigrants will be monitored for health issues as it makes its way north. This marks the third organized Central American caravan that tries to enter Mexico. The most recent one, with about 2,000 Central Americans, took off earlier this year and was largely intercepted by Mexican authorities in Hidalgo.
At the time Honduran authorities disclosed that four Iranian nationals had been arrested after entering the crime-infested nation illegally. The men were heading north to the United States, according to a Honduran newspaper article that attributed the information to the president, Juan Orlando Hernández. The Iranians were transported to the capital, Tegucigalpa, and officials reportedly launched an investigation. The worrisome incident coincided with a U.S. alert warning Mexico of armed Iranians planning to enter the country through the southern border, further illustrating the national security dangers of unmonitored human caravans. The bulletin, issued by the Border Patrol’s regional intelligence operation center in Arizona, said that a Guatemalan national may try to smuggle five Middle Easterners—including a suicide bomber—into the U.S. through Mexico. The smuggler and four other men and a woman transited through Guatemala and Belize before reaching Veracruz, Mexico, according to the bulletin. The Guatemalan, whose name is redacted in the government document, was deported from California a year ago. U.S. authorities received the threat after picking up recordings distributed via social media, according to a Spanish-language news story published by a Latin American outlet.
The scariest part is that the U.S. alert didn’t faze a busy Mexican border city’s police chief, who confirmed at the time that the region is full of Middle Easterners, Africans and Asians trekking north. In a Latin American news report published shortly after the U.S. issued the bulletin, Mexicali Police Chief María Elena Andrade Ramírez matter-of-factly said the arrival of people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia as well as the rest of the Americas is “normal” in her California border city of about a million residents. In a separate article published in a Mexicali paper, authorities downplayed the situation by assuring citizens that the arrival of people from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and the rest of the Americas is “something normal.”
Central America has long been a popular route for illegal immigrants from terrorist nations who want to reach the U.S. There’s no doubt many will infiltrate all of the organized caravans that take off from Honduras. When the first Central American caravan launched from San Pedro Sula in the fall of 2018, then Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales confirmed that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists had been apprehended in Guatemala. Like its Honduran neighbor, Guatemala too is a major smuggling corridor for foreigners from African and Asian countries making their way into the U.S. In 2017, Guatemala’s largest paper, Prensa Libra, published an in-depth piece on the inner workings of an international human smuggling network that moves migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh to the U.S.