Last Update 13:48
Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Migrant surge 'normal', US should not reinforce border: UN official

Reuters , Friday 2 Nov 2018
Migrants, Mexico
Migrants, part of a caravan traveling to the US, walk north from Huixtla, Mexico November 2, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 2772
Views: 2772

The caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico is “kind of a normal event” and the United States ought not to reinforce its border against them, a United Nations official said on Friday.

With days to go before mid-term elections, US President Donald Trump has called the surge of people an “invasion”, ordered troops to the border and suggested any rock-throwing by migrants should be treated as equivalent to gunfire.

Joel Millman, a spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), told a UN briefing in Geneva there had been similar caravans for many years, and the group was still hundreds of miles away from the United States.

“So (using) words like ‘invasion’ and things like that is assuming that this is a new phenomenon which is a drastic emergency, and I don’t think that anyone at IOM would share that view,” he said.

“This is kind of a normal event.”

Militarised frontiers tended not to deter people from crossing borders, he added. Instead, they increased the profits of criminal people-smuggling gangs and led to deaths among migrants.

“Militarising the border is not something we are ever in favor of,” he said.

The migrant group has become a major issue in campaigning for the elections on Nov. 6, when Republicans will seek to maintain control of both congressional chambers.

“We are calling for humanity and taking things away from politics,” Babar Baloch, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, said at the briefing.

Mexico on Wednesday put the size of the migrant group that left Honduras in mid-October at 2,800 to 3,000 people. Others have since followed.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday more than 7,000 troops would support the Department of Homeland Security along the Mexican border. Trump said as many as 15,000 could be sent.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.