THE LAST CARAVAN and Other Short Stories

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Some have jumped into the cold, rough ocean waters and tried to swim around the fence to the United States, only to be plucked from the surf by the authorities. This stretch of the border is one of the most heavily guarded and scrutinized. But for some, that is part of the calculation: Having grown impatient as they wait for their asylum appointments, they hope to speed things up by getting caught and petitioning for asylum on the spot, a provision in the law that Mr.

Trump is trying to end. Other migrants have no idea what they are doing.

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They find themselves adrift in a sea of rumors and misinformation about American and Mexican immigration law and their rights and options. Standing near the border, all they can see is American territory through the gaps in the metal fence — and the opportunities it seems to promise. So early Saturday morning, the 30 migrants hiding under the boughs of the tree watched the border and made their calculations. The group had walked or taken taxis from the waterlogged sports complex, leaving behind most of their possessions.

Now, United States Border guards on the other side of the fence were so close the migrants could hear their laughter. He said he had tried to sign up for an appointment to seek American asylum but had been told by Mexican police officers that he could no longer do so, which confused him. He was left with the belief that Mr.

Trump had ended the American asylum system. If he and his family made it across the fence, he said, he had no intention of turning himself in. Deportation seemed a certainty.

Caravan: An exclusive short story by Booker prize winner Anne Enright | Books | The Guardian

Instead, the family was thinking about making a run for it. Suddenly, another man who had just joined the group stood up, sprinted toward the fence and started climbing. Undeterred, the migrant hoisted himself over the barrier, dropped to the other side and put his arms in the air in an act of surrender, apparently intending to seek asylum. The other migrants watched in silence, then eventually decided to call it quits for the night and made their way down to the beach, where they peered through the fence bathed in floodlights.

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Earlier that night, two young men from El Salvador had come to explore that same stretch. Both Mr.

Jovel and his friend, Daniel Cruz, also 18, said they had fled El Salvador because of gang threats. They settled on a spot along a darkened stretch of the border and, using their hands, excavated a shallow ditch under the fence.

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Jovel went first, squeezing his slender body under the barrier then crouching behind a clump of tall weeds on the other side. Cruz quickly followed. But a United States Border Patrol vehicle suddenly appeared. An agent was shouting at them. And the two leapt into the ditch and slid back to Mexico. Discouraged, they started walking the five miles back to the shelter. They pointed their cellphone lights into storm drains; they had heard rumors of tunnels and secret crossing points. Cruz said he was exploring a range of options for the next chapter of his journey.

A relative had promised to contract a smuggler for him, but that deal had fallen through. A humanitarian visa in Mexico remained his fallback option if he could not get to the United States. Despite their failed first attempt to cross illegally, the two friends remained undeterred. Honduras is a wonderful place for a short visit, despite its reputation as a one of the most dangerous places on the planet.

It is a small, beautiful country with an abundance of natural resources and a warm, welcoming culture. But it is a very hard place to live. I first travelled there nearly 20 years ago to do volunteer work, meeting my Honduran husband in the process. I have visited multiple times since then, including living in Honduras for nearly a year while doing my PhD research.

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In September this year we visited for a month, spending time with family and friends, with discussions often revolving around politics, violence, and the difficulty of life in Honduras. Here are five reflections on the origins and implications of the caravan.

The place migrants are leaving is more important and relevant than the place they are going to. Political corruption and repression, gangs , drug cartels, land pressures and climate change make life very difficult for most Hondurans, and impossible for some. Every Honduran has a story of violence. Business owners sleep on the premises with a gun for protection, and drivers carry extra cash to pay corrupt police if pulled over.

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People avoid the centre of large cities wherever possible. For those who have crossed paths with the gangs or drug cartels, dared to protest against the government, or tried to stand up for community rights in the face of mining corporations and dam builders, it is unimaginably difficult. When conditions are this bad, large-scale migration is inevitable, and many of these migrants are, in effect, refugees. Rather than being the victim of a migrant invasion, the United States is complicit.

While local elites and politicians carry much of the blame for the chaos, decades of US meddling in the region has played a significant role.

Migrant caravan: Mexican officials deny US border deal

Read more: How US policy in Honduras set the stage for today's migration. Poverty and inequality in Honduras has roots in the activities of American fruit companies throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The current instability can be traced to the coup, the success of which was partly attributable to US policy. Since that election, there has been another major increase in political violence and repression. Through close ties with the Honduran business elites, US and transnational corporate interests are also linked to the repression of environmentalists and indigenous leaders.

Although the caravan seems huge to us, this is just a drop in the bucket. More than , individuals were apprehended crossing the border illegally from Mexico into the USA in This was an historic low, down from 1. It is as also just a tiny fraction of the number of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.

However, this caravan is part of a trend towards migrants and refugees travelling in larger groups.

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The journey through Mexico is dangerous. For example, rape is very common. Individual stories often get lost in the numbers and rhetoric. Focusing on the numbers lends credence to the rhetoric of invasion. admin