If you’ve been watching the news of late, or you read the paper on a regular basis, it’s highly likely that you’ve come across articles about the migrant caravan. This is a story that has dominated the news of late, but what exactly is the caravan, and how could it impact British travellers looking to spend time in the US?
What is the migrant caravan?
The migrant caravan is a group of people, which is travelling from Central America to the US border with Mexico. Originally comprising just over a hundred Honduran citizens, the caravan has expanded over the course of the last few weeks, with people from Guatemala and El Salvador believed to be part of the body now making its way to America. The idea was to leave behind civil war and poverty in pursuit of a new life in the States, and this was a dream that appealed to many. Over time, as the caravan has moved north, it has gathered speed, and some reports suggest that there are now thousands of people making their way through Central America to the US-Mexico border. It is difficult to determine an exact figure, but there are said to be thousands making the journey.
The caravan started life as a group of around 160 people, which gathered in the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The procession started on the 12th of October, and news quickly spread. The plan was to march for around a month to reach the border and start a new life in the US. Over the course of the last three weeks, more and more people have heard about the caravan. By the 13th of October, more than 1,000 Hondurans had joined, and since crossing Guatemala and Mexico, the numbers have increased dramatically.
Many of those making the journey are doing so to escape hardship and find opportunities. The caravan setup is a protective measure, as people believe that travelling in a group offers a greater chance of success. The idea is based on the theory of safety in numbers.
The latest developments
The migrant caravan is currently making its way through Mexico. Reports from the United Nations suggested that there were around 7,000 migrants at one point, but some have turned back, and others have been offered asylum in Mexico. The US has said that it will not allow migrants to enter, and borders have been tightened, with military forces dispatched to police crossings. The world is waiting to see what happens when the body of migrants reaches its proposed destination.
Potential implications for British travellers flying to the US
If you have plans to visit the US in the coming weeks for a holiday, you’re travelling for work, or you were thinking about booking a last-minute trip, you may be wondering what impact the migrant situation will have on flights to the USA. The caravan is unlikely to cause widespread disruption in terms of flight timetables, and the risk of flights being cancelled or delayed is negligible. The situation, however, may impact security measures. The US has already introduced stricter regulations, and if you travel to the US on a regular basis, you may have noticed that it takes a little longer to get through security when you land. As a general rule, you’ll be asked to provide your fingerprints and a photograph will be taken before you can proceed and start enjoying your holiday. You may also be interviewed by border control officers, and you’ll often see police dogs wandering around US airports. There’s nothing to worry about, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it might take a while to get a cab or hop on the bus once you’ve arrived in the US. It’s helpful to have this information if you’re arranging private transfers or meeting friends or family, for example.
Is it safe to visit the Southern States?
The migrant caravan is currently travelling towards the US-Mexico border. British tourism should not be affected by the movement of migrants from Central America, and you shouldn’t encounter any issues or be worried about your personal safety if you are taking a break in the Southern States. If you’re planning a road trip, and you intended to cross the border into Mexico, it may be worth bearing in mind that there may be clashes once the caravan arrives, and that there is likely to be an intense security presence. Crossing the border will not be an issue with a valid UK passport, but it’s wise to be prepared for delays, and it may be best to avoid this area for the foreseeable future.
The migrant caravan is a subject that has dominated news headlines in recent weeks. Although a subject of great political interest, British tourists planning to visit California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas should be able to enjoy their holiday without any disruption or safety concerns. The best thing to do is keep an eye on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for the latest travel advice.