Two women from El Salvador discuss migrant caravan issue
COLUMBIA - Zulma Hernandez from El Salvador wants people to know why some Central Americans are moving slowly on foot to the United States.
She is part of the team at CRIPDES SUR, an organization that contributes to the development of communities, youth and women's empowerment in El Salvador.
She came to Columbia to spread the word about the organization's work, and to shed light on the caravan of migrants slowly moving towards the United States southern border.
Hernandez spoke through a translator, Claudia Martinez, who is a grassroots coordinator at SHARE, a group which works to cultivate solidarity among the people of El Salvador.
Hernandez said families and young people are leaving their country to come to the United States for more opportunity.
"One of the main things why youth are coming here is because they don't have many opportunities in El Salvador to find a job and they want to have a better life," Hernandez said.
She said some young people in El Salvador are also fleeing gangs in their communities who want them to join their groups.
Martinez said most of the violent groups extort family members and their stores if young people choose not to join.
"People need to avoid these problems and they need to go out of their communities that they were born because it's dangerous for them," Martinez said.
President Trump has spoken frequently in recent weeks about a desire to stop the migrants from entering the United States. On Friday he issued an order to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally.
The Trump administration said those who are denied asylum may be eligible for different types of asylum, most of which do not allow people to bring their families or get green cards.
Trump spoke about the most recent caravan at his rally in Columbia on November 1.
"Republicans want strong borders, no crime, no chaos, and no caravans."
President Trump has also warned people some of the migrants in caravans have broken through borders.
"These are tough people. These are not angels, these are not little angels. These are tough people, and we're not letting them into our country," he said. "They're not coming in illegally."
Despite these efforts from the President and his administration, Martinez said there are still many ways people can help the migrants if they want.
"There are different social organizations who is trying to find a solution or talk against the government that the decision that he's taking is not correct," Martinez said.
She said people can also support them by providing food and clothes, or even a place to stay.