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Guatemala declares emergency measures amid reports of new Honduras migrant caravan

Migrants cross Guatemala-Mexico border
Migrants disembark on the Mexican side of the border after crossing the Usumacinta River from Guatemala.
(Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei declared a “state of prevention” Monday along the country’s border with Honduras amid reports that a new migrant caravan may be forming there.

The emergency decree restricts open-air gatherings and demonstrations without permits, and will be in effect for two weeks in the five Guatemalan provinces along the Honduran border.

The government said in a statement that the restrictions were justified because “groups of people could put at risk the life, liberty, security, health, access to justice, peace and development” of Guatemalans.

Guatemala issued a similar decree in January to stymie a previous migrant caravan, arguing that it represented a public health risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dense Lacandon Jungle along the Mexico-Guatemala border has become a major people-smuggling hub.

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During the previous attempt in January, Guatemalan police and soldiers launched tear gas and wielded batons and shields to stop a group of about 2,000 Honduran migrants at a roadblock.

Several caravans of mainly Honduran migrants have tried to cross Guatemala and Mexico to reach the U.S. border, though none has succeeded since 2019.

The number of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has increased recently. U.S. authorities reported more than 100,000 encounters on the southern border in February, the highest since a four-month period in 2019.


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