"Why does the migrant caravan exist?" – Professor Jerry Flores published on "The Conversation Canada"

November 4, 2018 by Kate Paik

Professor Jerry Flores recently published an article in The Conversation Canada about the migrant caravan heading from Central America toward the United States. The article looks at both the immediate causes of individuals and families leaving Guatemala and Honduras in a caravan for the north and the longer term role of U.S. interference in the affairs of these Central American countries.  From this “deadly history,” Professor Flores draws connections to how the migrant caravan is connected to larger issues and hemispheric politics played out over decades.

Professor Flores is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus. His areas of research include studies of race and ethnicity, gender and crime, prison studies and ethnographic research methods, among others. He recently published his first book titled Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance and Wraparound Incarceration, and has published articles in a wide range of journals, including Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society. He is currently conducting two projects – the first investigating how the use of videos can help prevent violence in police-citizen interactions; and the other regarding the continued disappearance of Indigenous women in Canada.

An excerpt of the article is posted below (the full article can be found here).

On Oct. 19, thousands of Central American migrants tried to cross the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico, seeking safety up north. News outlets broadcast the painful moans of people being crushed one against the other and the screams of children. We saw the desperate looks of mothers as authorities in Mexico tried to push back the crowd with batons and pepper spray. The following day they were permitted to cross over.

The caravan of 7,000, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, is heading for the United States.

Once news of the caravan was presented to U.S. President Donald Trump, he said the flow of people contained “dangerous criminals,” and he pressured the Mexican government to stop the “invasion.”

Trump also threatened to cut humanitarian aid to Central American countries. He also announced he was sending more than 5,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. As the caravan began to receive more attention, people asked: “Why are these people coming to the U.S.?”

Read the full story.