The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has urged President Donald Trump to allow a caravan of Central Americans into the United States to seek asylum.
According to a UNHCR spokesperson, Andrej Mahecic, the caravan comprises people who are fleeing violence and persecution, therefore, they should be allowed in the country to gain refugee statuses, per VOA.
“Our position globally is that the individuals who are fleeing persecution and violence need to be given access to territory and protection including refugee status and determination procedure. And, if the people who are fleeing persecution and violence enter Mexico, they need to be provided access to the Mexican asylum system and those entering the United States need to be provided access to the American asylum system.”
Mr. Mahecic added that the situation should be urgently stabilized and people included in the caravan should be provided with a “proper reception to improve their basic conditions.” But as for the issue of asylum, he said that the needs of international protection must be properly analyzed prior to reaching a decision or deportation of return, a separate story by VOA said.
President Trump, however, has made it clear that the caravan — which according to him includes some hardened criminals and very bad people — will not be allowed to “invade” the U.S.
On Monday, President Trump took to Twitter and warned the caravan to return home, adding that the U.S. military forces have been deployed at the borders to stop them from illegally entering the U.S.
“Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
Earlier, the Department of Homeland Security made a request to the Pentagon to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in what is described as a “support role.” The request has been approved and recent news reports suggest that the deployment could involve thousands of troops, per VOA.
The U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that details of the said deployment are currently being worked out. There are already more than 2,000 members of the National Guard deployed to the area who are providing support for border patrol agents.
Per a report by USA Today, the caravan, including thousands of migrants mainly from Honduras and Guatemala, “is still nearly 1,000 miles – and weeks away – from the nearest U.S.-Mexico border entry in McAllen, Texas.”
The caravan has currently stopped to rest after walking for a week through the state of Chiapas and reaching the town of San Pedro Tapanatepec in Oaxaca state.