A Honduran zoo, once a narco playground, is now home to tapirs | AFP

Almendra, a young tapir, is bottle fed at the Joya Grande Zoo, a huge park that was seized six years ago from drug traffickers in the rugged mountains of northern Honduras and is now part of a project to rescue the threatened tapirs of Central America.

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Pelosi: Immigration reform is moral responsibility

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she sees comprehensive immigration reform as Congress’ moral responsibility. Pelosi and a congressional delegation visited Central America and migrant detention facilities in McAllen, Texas. (Aug. 12)

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Trump: Guatemala signs deal restricting asylum

Donald Trump says Guatemala is signing an agreement to restrict asylum applications to the US from Central America. The so-called “safe-third agreement” would require migrants who cross into Guatemala to apply for protections there. (July 26)

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Mexico migrant centers experience increased overcrowding | AFP

My Mexican workers build new reception spaces at a migrant shelter, while another association piles tents in a hangar as migrants seeking asylum in the United States continue to come to Tijuana, whether they are driven back from US territory or have just arrived from Central America.

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Polls open for Guatemala’s presidential election | AFP

Guatemalans are set to elect a new president Sunday after gang violence, poverty and streams of US-bound migrants have dominated campaigning in Central America’s most populous country, where a crowded field of 19 candidates is vying to succeed outgoing president Jimmy Morales. IMAGES

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Migrants at the Border Feel They Have No Choice But to Enter the U.S. Illegally (HBO)

EL PASO, Texas — In the two hours before sunset on a recent afternoon, Border Patrol agents working the line between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso saw more than 100 migrants step over the Rio Grande and into the United States.

They were nearly all families traveling together from Central America seeking asylum, and they crossed in groups ranging from six people to 40. When they spotted Border Patrol vehicles, they calmly walked over to turn themselves in — the first step to requesting asylum for those who enter the country illegally.

Carlos, a migrant from Honduras who crossed the border carrying a pale and coughing toddler, said he had initially planned to cross legally through an official port of entry. But out of the tens of thousands of people waiting, the U.S. allows in only a small percentage of asylum seekers on any given day.

“The truth is that my son couldn’t wait,” said Carlos. “He is very sick.”

The number of people found crossing the border illegally has shot up dramatically since the beginning of the year. In April, according to data released last week by CBP, the number nearly hit 100,000 — the highest it’s been in 12 years.

That’s as clear an indication as possible that the Trump administration’s strategy to deter Central American asylum seekers — which includes metering at ports of entry, expanded detention, and forcing families back to Mexico to wait out their asylum cases — has failed. VICE News went to the border to find out why.

This segment originally aired May 15, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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Video: large group of migrants crosses into US

U.S. Border Patrol officials say 360 migrants have surrendered to agents in Arizona. Border Patrol camera operators spotted the group Tuesday morning. Authorities say most were women and children from Central America. (April 17)

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Migrants from Central America kept behind barbed-wire fence in Texas

Footage filmed on Wednesday shows hundreds of migrant families from Central America being held in a pen beneath an underpass, in El Paso, Texas, as they were waiting to be processed by US immigration officials.

The makeshift encampment was set up in a parking lot of a Border Patrol station, beneath the Paso del Norte Bridge. Footage shows migrants cramped in the encampment, behind fence and barbed wire. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9r3e

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Trump’s Plan To Deter Asylum Seekers Creates A New Border Crisis (HBO)

Last Tuesday morning, Catardo Gómez stepped from the United States into Mexico, looked around briefly in confusion, and was immediately swarmed by microphones and cameras.

He’d made history simply by walking onto the other side of El Chaparral, a pedestrian border crossing connecting San Diego with Tijuana. Gómez was the first migrant sent back under a new Trump administration program, called the Migrant Protection Protocol, which requires asylum seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico instead of the U.S.

“I’m going straight to the place where I’m staying,” Gómez told the scrum of reporters before being hustled into a van by Mexican immigration agents. “I’m tired.”

Soon, more migrants from Central America like Gómez will be forced to make the trek back over the border as they wait for their asylum cases, which the US is required by domestic and international law to hear in full before it deports asylum seekers back to their home countries. If the program is fully implemented, the implications could be massive.

Most asylum seekers who enter the U.S. through the southern border, either by presenting themselves at a port of entry or crossing illegally and surrendering to Border Patrol agents, wait in the United States while their asylum cases proceed through the severely backlogged immigration court system, which can take months or years.

But now, a growing number will be forced to wait out the process in Mexican border cities, which are often beset by the same problems of violence and poverty that migrants fled in the first place. Some are likely to give up and return home as a result, and both supporters and critics of the program say such a deterrent effect is part of its design.

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Tijuana Residents Don’t Want The Migrant Caravan In Tijuana (HBO)

The desperate and seemingly unstoppable journey of about three thousand migrants from Central America heading towards the United States has finally reached Tijuana, the final stop before the U.S. border. But the goodwill that migrants encountered on their long journey north from people offering rides and meals is now greeted with a chillier reception.

Instead, those arriving in the border city earlier this week were greeted by hundreds of Tijuana residents protesting their presence with angry chants of “Mexico First!”

Protest organizers echoed language used by U.S. President Donald Trump. “Mexico has always opened its doors to Central Americans to legal and organized migration but not to the illegal invasion that’s currently taking place,” said organizer Jesus Eduardo Burgos Gomez.

At one point during the protest, a group of residents tried to rush one of the shelters housing migrants but Mexican police in riot gear held them back.

“There’s too many people,” said protester Josefina Arangure. “We won’t be able to control it. A lot of people are going to stay and get jobs, others are just going to commit crimes.”

Protesters say they’re worried that this new wave of asylum seekers will overwhelm a city that has already dealt with its share of refugees from previous migrant caravans and from Haitians fleeing the devastation of the 2016 earthquake.

While the vast majority of those in the caravan say their ultimate goal is to get to the United States, U.S. border inspectors under the Trump Administration have only been processing about 100 claims a day at the Tijuana crossing. In the meantime, another thousand Central American migrants are expected to arrive in the next few days.

“They’re coming here with an American dream that doesn’t exist,” said Aranguer. “So unfortunately these people are going to stay here.”

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Trump: Up to 15,000 troops may be sent to border

(31 Oct 2018) President Donald Trump says the number of military troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could go as high as 15,000. Trump said that the move would be aimed at preventing the entry of a caravan of migrants traveling from Central America. (Oct. 31)

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RAW: Troops gear up for Operation Faithful Patriot at southern US border

COURTESY: Sgt. 1st Class Ashley Savage

As thousands of migrants from Central America are currently journeying towards the United States, the US military is preparing to meet them at the US border.

Footage emerged on Tuesday, shows troops from the 16th Military Police Brigade packing equipment and vehicles at the military installation of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before being deployed to the southwest border region of the US.

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Migrants captured after dropping over border wall

(19 Oct 2018) Authorities say large groups of Central America migrants continue to surrender to Border Patrol agents in Arizona, with the arrival of one recent group numbering 108 captured in dramatic video images. (Oct. 19)

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US-bound migrant caravan

Videographic locating a migrant route in Central America. Mexico deployed hundreds of riot police to its border with Guatemala as a caravan of Central American migrants prepared to cross on their way to the United States, defying President Donald Trump’s threats.VIDEOGRAPHICS

Migrant Caravan: Trump threatens to close US border and send army

#Trump is threatening to deploy the army and close the border if a convoy of migrants from Central America will reach the border. Here is a quick recap for you.

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What Trump’s Helsinki Speech Could Mean For America’s Standing In The World (HBO)

Thomas Shannon was the number three official in the State Department — until he quit in June, joining a growing wave of top diplomats who have departed their posts.

That meant he was at home when President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and told the world that he trusted Putin’s word over that of the American intelligence community.

“That was distressing,” Shannon told VICE News in his first interview since leaving office. “Because I was part of a larger evaluation of Russian interference, or efforts to interfere, in our election. And I have no doubt about it.”

He added, “In many ways this was kind of a wink heard round the world. Winking at Russian behavior which should not be winked at — it should be called to account.”

Shannon spent more than 34 years in the foreign service, much of it in posts across South and Central America. His retirement, he said, was purely a personal choice.

Meanwhile, his experience at the top level of the Trump administration has left him wary, though not quite ready to declare Trump a threat to the nation, like some of his former colleagues.

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Kids In Tent Facility Are From Central America

A privately operated holding facility for immigrant children near El Paso is occupied by 250 teenage boys, mostly from Central America. That’s according to three Democratic senators who visited the facility Friday. (June 22)

Migrants Are Crossing The Border To Escape Danger At Home Despite Trump’s Policies (HBO)

JUAREZ, Chihuahua — President Trump’s executive order barring migrants families from being separated at the border was welcome news to recent deportees and those preparing to cross illegally at a shelter here just miles from the Texas border, but they doubt any change in U.S. policy will forestall the migratory crush from Mexico and Central America each summer.

That’s how bad things are at home.

Israel Rojas, 32, was deported outside of Matamoros last week and arrived in Juarez on Wednesday, floral-pattern suitcase in tow. It was his fourth deportation. His next arrest for illegal entry could leave him in prison for 3-5 years.

Instead of risking it, he sent money to help his wife and four children moved from Virginia to El Paso, Texas. He’s looking for houses across the border, in Juarez, but worries about the violence. His family will visit him on weekends.

“Over here, you might not only see your children for a while, but at least you’ll reunite with them,” Rojas said. “Over there, you and your children are in risk of getting killed.”

While child separation was a horror, said Casa de Migrante shelter director Blanca Rivera, news of recent policy like Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” treatment of first-time border crossers hasn’t necessarily reached migrants in Central America en route to the U.S.

“Their willingness to migrate doesn’t change,” Rivera said. “They all
still have hopes and dreams in their minds, and they want to try and follow them no matter what.”

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