MEXICO CITY, JANUARY 24

A caravan of some 500 migrants that departed northern Honduras in hopes of reaching the United States dissolved Sunday after crossing the border into Guatemala, the Guatemalan Migration Institute reported.

Authorities had been monitoring three border crossings and said part of the caravan advanced a few kilometers (miles) into Guatemalan territory, before the migrants were stopped by migration officials who processed them, prioritizing the minors.

According to the immigration agency, no force was used and dialogue prevailed. Those who had documents were able to continue on as Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador have free transit among them. Those who did not have the necessary documents returned to Honduras.

Authorities did not offer figures on how many stayed or returned.

The caravan left Saturday, walking from the bus terminal of San Pedro Sula in Honduras. It was the first such group to leave Honduras since January 2022.

The vast majority of migrants cross Central America and Mexico in small groups, using all types of transportation and smuggling networks. Only a few form caravans.

The largest ones left San Pedro Sula in late 2018 and 2019 and many made it as far as the southern U.S. border. But after the pandemic, the U.S. put pressure on Mexico and Central American governments to increase their efforts to stop migrants headed north.

Since then, the caravans were stopped first in southern Mexico and later in Guatemalan territory.

In 2023, there were record numbers of migrants all over the hemisphere. Arrests for illegal crossings into the U.S. from Mexico intensified by the end of year, when U.S. authorities registered up to 10,000 illegal crossings over several days in December. The number dropped to 2,500 in the first days of January.



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