IOM: Migrant Caravan Heading to US Border Poses No Threat

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the Central American migration caravan wending its way through Mexico toward the United States is an annual event and poses no threat.  

U.S. President Donald Trump calls the migrant caravan moving toward the United States’ southern border an invasion, a view the International Organization for Migration does not share.   

IOM spokesman Joel Millman told VOA the caravan is not an emergency.  He said it is a normal annual event that has been going on for more than a decade.

“The next point I would make is that they are nowhere near the border yet, so it is a little bit difficult to respond to hypotheticals.  You know, is it an invasion? They are hundreds of miles away.… I have never heard, generally, anyone thinking this was a threat to civil peace in these annual events,” Millman said.

Among the thousands of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are asylum seekers fleeing persecution and violence.  Under international law, countries are obliged to grant them access to their territory and offer them international protection.

Trump is sending more than 8,000 troops to the southern border with Mexico to keep asylum seekers from entering the U.S.  Millman said barriers and militarized borders tend not to deter border crossings, but rather support criminal organizations profiting off the misery of separate people.

“We know from the rising number of deaths on borders around the world what militarization means to the individuals who are crossing and the risks they are adding and the dangers.  And, we know that it feeds the profits of the smugglers.  So, we oppose it for many reasons and this would be no exception.  Militarizing the border is not something we are ever in favor of,” Millman said.

While most of the migrants are continuing their relentless march toward the United States, many are dropping out of the caravan.  The U.N. migration agency says exhaustion and the challenges ahead are causing many migrants to voluntarily accept offers from Mexico and Honduras to help them return home.


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