November 16, 2018

Report: Migrants surge toward US, hoping to beat Trump inauguration

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Central American migrants are surging toward the U.S., hoping to cross the southern border before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in early next year, according to a report from Reuters.

Trump won the White House with a hardline immigration platform that included increased deportations and the construction of a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and officials told the news service Thursday that many are accelerating their plans to reach the states.

“We’re worried because we’re seeing a rise in the flow of migrants leaving the country, who have been urged to leave by coyotes telling them that they have to reach the United States before Trump takes office,” said Maria Andrea Matamoros, Honduras’s deputy foreign minister.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced on Wednesday that agencies were seeing a spike in the number apprehended, with thousands more than is typical being held in immigration detention facilities.

“I have authorized [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to acquire additional detention space so that those apprehended at the border and not eligible for humanitarian relief can be detained and sent home as soon as possible,” Johnson said.

“Those who attempt to enter our country illegally must know that, consistent with our laws and our values, we must and we will send you back,” he added.

But Reuters reports that Trump’s victory this month sent tremors through both the close-knit migrant communities in the U.S. and the slums of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the home nations of the vast majority of those detained.

“They tell us the new president doesn’t like illegal immigrants, but we have to take the chance,” one migrant woman said. “Nobody wants to die in a horrible way, and we can’t be in Guatemala any longer. My children are growing up in fear.”

Nearly 410,000 people reportedly have been detained at the southern U.S. border this fiscal year, a 25 percent increase over 2015.

Source: The Hill

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