The first migrant caravan of 2024 is heading to the U.S. under the belief of “migrate or starve to death”

Text and photography: Amilcar Izaguirre

Translation: José Rivera

English editing: Amy Patricia Morales 


On January 20, 2024, around 300 men, women and minors left the main bus station in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, en route to the U.S. This is the first migrant caravan of 2024 and the second since Xiomara Castro was sworn in as president in January 2022.

Although migrant caravans that left Honduras between 2018 and 2021 were of a much larger scale than recent ones, migration hasn’t decreased. In 2023 alone, the U.S. Border Patrol detained more than 213,000 Honduran migrants.

“There’s no going back. We’re going to die here anyways, but it’s worse if we stay because we would die of hunger,” said Arnold Espinal, a migrant who left Orocuina, Choluteca. He lost his job growing okra four years ago, when the Administrative Office of Seized Properties (Oficina Administradora de Bienes – OABI) seized the plantation during the administration of Juan Orlando Hernández. Espinal is leaving the country because he didn’t see an improvement in the quality of life that he expected with the new government.

Edgard Hernández, 26, also left Orocuina; it’s the second time he embarked on this journey. He said that he arrived in the U.S. and turned himself in, thinking authorities would grant him asylum, but he was deported instead. He’s going to try again because he has been eating only rice and beans for a long time and working temporary jobs for 250 lempiras ($10). “We found out about the caravan on TikTok and Facebook two weeks ago, so we decided to come,” he said.

José Manueles, 23, another migrant, had to leave his parents in La Esperanza, Intibuca, because of the lack of opportunities in the country. He said he doesn’t want to leave, but he has no other choice, “People leave because of the poverty in Honduras. Money is very scarce here.”  He also told Contracorriente about a group of friends who traveled by foot or asked taxi or bus drivers for rides because they have no money. “We don’t have any money. We’ll figure it out as we go. It’s just God and us out there,” he added.

Hondurans who left for the U.S. in a migrant caravan on January 20, 2024, spent the night on the grass in the bus station in San Pedro Sula, Cortés. Photo CC/ Amílcar Izaguirre.

Human rights organizations like Pastoral de Movilidad Humana estimate that between 600 and 700 Hondurans leave the country every day in search of a better life. A large percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from remittances, which constituted $9.17 billion, more than one-fourth of GDP, in 2023.

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