As more than 1,000 migrants travel through Mexico, President Trump continued to warn that the caravan of people should be stopped before entering the U.S.
The caravan, an annual event, is made up mostly of migrants from Honduras and Central America. Some hoped to seek asylum in Mexico; others might be bound for the U.S., according to organizers.
Here’s what you need to know about the migrants and what they seek.
What are these caravans?
A group of about 1,200 people – most of them Hondurans – are walking through Mexico, seeking asylum or refugee status.
For many migrants, Mexico is the last stop. Later this week, buses will take people to a migrant rights symposium in central Puebla – southeast of Mexico City. After the symposium, some migrants could continue onto Mexico’s capital to make an asylum claim, Irineo Mujica, director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the activist group behind the event, says.
The symposium is the last scheduled stop, according to organizers.
Contrary to some reports, organizers told The New York Times that a majority of the migrants do not intend to travel to the U.S. Alex Mensing, a project coordinator with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, told the newspaper that only about 10 or 15 percent might try to seek refuge in the U.S.
What has Mexico said about the migrants?
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry said about 400 migrants have been deported, but the government views the caravan as “a public demonstration that seeks to call attention to migration and the importance of respecting the rights of Central American migrants who in many cases are forced to leave their countries in search of better opportunities or with the intention of getting international ‘refugee’ status and protection.”
Mexico has handed out humanitarian or travel visas to many of the travelers. About 465 migrants had asked for transit visas and 230 have gotten them, and another 168 were likely to get some sort of visa to stay in Mexico, according to the country's government.
The government also noted that -- per its migration laws -- those in the caravan must leave Mexico only at “designated international transit points” and should adhere to the rules of country they are entering.
The law “also specifies that it is not the responsibility of the Mexican government to make immigration decisions for the United States or any other nation; the appropriate U.S. authorities will decide, if necessary, whether or not to authorize entrance into their territory at the authorized ports of entry and exit for any members of the caravan that request it,” the government said.
Are these caravans new?
No. According to the Mexican government, the caravan of migrants have journeyed around this time every year since 2010.
They began as short processions of migrants, some dressed in biblical garb and carrying crosses, as an Easter-season protest against the kidnappings, extortion, beatings and killings suffered by many Central American migrants as they cross Mexico.
However, this particular caravan is one of the largest ever, according to The New York Times.
Those making the trek see safety in numbers and believe that traveling as a group would deter would-be robbers or kidnappers.
In 2016, Mexico granted more than 3,200 asylum requests. An additional 9,626 requests filed last year have either been accepted or are still under review.
What has the Trump said about them?
Trump has drawn attention to the caravans with multiple tweets.
On Easter Sunday, the president warned that the caravans are “coming” and slammed the so-called “catch and release” laws. He also warned that Mexico should stop people from “flowing into” its country and the U.S. or he would “stop their cash flow.”
“The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our ‘Weak Laws’ Border, had better be stopped before it gets there,” Trump said, adding that foreign aid to Honduras and other nations is at stake.
Can the migrants actually receive DACA status?
In a tweet, Trump said, “These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!”
But even should migrants be able to enter the U.S., they would not be eligible for the protection granted under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In order to receive DACA status, individuals have to be brought to the U.S. illegally as children and have continuously lived in the country since 2007, among other requirements.
As the Trump administration has moved to phase out the program – and called for a legislative fix – no new applicants are being accepted for DACA.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.