2018 Honduras Caravan
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The 2018 Honduras Caravan refers to a collection of more than 5,000 migrants from such South American countries as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador collectively walking toward the United States border to escape poverty, violence and oppression in their own respective countries. The mass immigration prompted responses from United States citizens and politicians, enflaming already on-going debates on immigration and border security.
On October 12th, 2018, people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador met San Pedro Sula, Honduras to create a caravan headed towards the United States. The collection began with about 160 people but grew to more than 500. Within a week, that number grew to about 5,000 migrants.
Shortly after the caravan left San Pedro Sula, Vice President Mike Pence "urged the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to persuade their citizens to stay home." He said, "Tell your people: don’t put your families at risk by taking the dangerous journey north to attempt to enter the United States illegally."
President Trump denounced the caravan in a number of speeches, interviews and social media posts. On October 22nd, 2018, he tweeted, "Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!" However, this information in this tweet could not be verified. According to NPR, "While it's not unheard of for people from the Middle East to try to cross the border illegally from Mexico, it is extremely rare. Of more than 300,000 people apprehended last year trying to cross the Southern border illegally, fewer than 100 came from countries in the Middle East, according to data gathered by Customs and Border Protection."
The caravan was a topic of much discussion online. On October 22nd, Redditor  Korea4life posted about the caravan in the /r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit, where it received more than 8,600 points (90% upvoted) and 640 comments in two days. The caravan was also the topic of much discussion in the /r/the_donald subreddit, inspiring several threads about the event.
On Twitter, the topic was discussed at length. On October 23rd, comedian Hari Konabolu tweeted, "White people who traveled great distances to find prosperity were 'pioneers.' Brown people who do the same thing now are part of a 'migrant caravan.'" The tweet received more than 10,000 retweets and 36,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left).
Additionally, a number of misreported information about the caravan was shared as well, including a 2012 picture of a bloodied police officer, which some claimed was taken during the caravan. BuzzFeed editor Craig Silverman tweeted, "A photo of bloodied law enforcement officers from 2012 was used to make false claims about the migrant caravan. Here’s Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, helping spread it." The tweet received more than 9,300 retweets and 12,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, center).
The following day, The Daily Beast's Will Sommer tweeted, "Pro-Trump Facebook is always falling for hoaxes about huge armies of Bikers for Trump. Previously the bikers saved Kavanaugh and made Mueller resign, now they're going to fight the caravan." The tweet received more than 200 retweets and 1,100 likes in 24 hours.
Virtually ever major American news outlet covered the caravan and response to it, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and more.
On October 29th, 2018, The New York Times reported that more than 5,000 active-duty United States military troops would be sent to the U.S.'s southern border. According to the Times, "the massing of American troops comes as Mr. Trump has seized on the caravan as a closing political message in the final week before the midterms, warning darkly -- and without evidence -- that 'Middle Eastern' people are part of a dangerous mob of migrants threatening to surge into communities here."
That day, DC Examiner editor Dave Brown tweeted a video of troops leaving Fort Knox for the southern border. They captioned the post, "It's already underway: DoD video shows a C-17 leaving Dover for Fort Knox on an alert call today as part of Operation Faithful Patriot, the new military mission to secure the southern border." Within 24 hours, the post received more than 480 retweets and 800 likes (shown below).
It's already underway: DoD video shows a C-17 leaving Dover for Fort Knox on an alert call today as part of Operation Faithful Patriot, the new military mission to secure the southern border https://t.co/twIjdnfH69 pic.twitter.com/Il3jKeNlmv
— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) October 29, 2018
Some criticized the president for this tactic due to the fact that the caravan was still more than 1,000 miles from the border at the time of the deployment. Jason Dempsy of the Center for a New American Security told the Times, "This is using the troops as props. We’re using a bunch of people to waste their time while they backstop the Border Patrol."
In a tweet by The Washington Post's Jacqueline Alemany, former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Gil Kerlikowske said Trump's action is "a misuse of active duty military…To say this isn't a political stunt is misleading the public." The tweet received more than 4,000 retweets and 8,200 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left). Throughout the day, more on Twitter voiced their dissent (examples below, center and right).
 Wikipedia – Central American migrant caravans
 The Guardian – 'Yes, we can': caravan of 1,600 Honduran migrants crosses Guatemala border
 Twitter – @realdonaldtrump's Tweet
 NPR.org – FACT CHECK: President Trump's False Claims On Migrant Caravan, Tax Cuts
 Reddit – What's up with the Honduras caravan and why are they headed to the United States?
 Reddit – The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately! : The_Donald
 Reddit – Within hours of Trump's tweet warning Honduras to stop the migrant caravan or they won't get their yearly $127M in American aid, caravan leader Bartolo Fuentes has been nabbed by Guatemalan authorities to be deported back to Honduras
 Reddit – President Trump: The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our “Weak Laws” Border, had better be stopped before it gets there. Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen. Congress MUST ACT NOW!
 Twitter – @harikondabolu's Tweet
 Washington Post – How a six-year-old photo of a bleeding policeman is being used to stoke fears about the migrant caravan
 Twitter – @craigsilverman's Tweet
 Twitter – @willsommer's Tweet
 Washington Post How the migrant caravan became so big and why it’s continuing to grow
 New York Times – What Is the Migrant Caravan and Why Does Trump Care?
 CNN – A new migrant caravan is forming, and the Trump administration is watching
 New York Times – Trump Sending 5,200 Troops to the Border in an Election-Season Response to Migrants
 Twitter – @dave_brown24's Tweet
 Twitter – @JaxAlemany's Tweet
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