According to data released by Honduran authorities on Tuesday, they have seen a huge surge of over 400,000 migrants that have crossed through Honduras so far this year en route to the United States in search of better opportunities and living conditions.
The National Immigration Institute of Honduras reported that from January 1st to September 17th, 2023, a total of 419,101 migrants passed through Honduran territory headed northwards. This represents a dramatic increase from 188,000 total migrants crossing Honduras in all of 2022.
Since 2014, over 600,000 migrants have passed through Honduras on their way to attempt entry into the US. The largest nationality groups crossing Honduras this year were Venezuelans at 176,103 individuals, followed by Cubans at 71,480 and Ecuadorians at 54,147. Smaller numbers from Haiti, Colombia, China, Senegal, Mauritania, Uzbekistan and other nations were also registered.
According to Honduran immigration authorities, the majority of migrants enter illicitly through remote points along the border with Nicaragua. Many converge on the community of Trojes, located about 100 km east of the capital Tegucigalpa. A smaller number also enter via Choluteca near the southern border.
These migrants often travel through major cities asking for money and food before reaching the Guatemalan frontier. Their precarious situation and lack of resources has been visible on the streets of Honduran urban centers.
Panama has faced similar migrant pressures, registering 248,000 people crossing its borders in the first 9 months of 2023. This already exceeds the 100,000 migrants counted in Panama for all of 2022, signaling increasing movements up through Central America.
Both Panama and Honduras are grappling with how to address this swelling tide of migrants, while maintaining security and sovereignty over their borders. However, the United States has reiterated warnings that irregular migrants arriving without authorization will be promptly returned to their countries of origin.
With poverty, violence, political instability and limited economic opportunities afflicting much of the region, Central American nations face complex challenges in balancing humanitarian and security priorities presented by these unprecedented migratory flows.