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More Honduran Migrants Make Their Way From Guatemala Toward The U.S.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're also following some news in Latin America. A new group of Honduran migrants is travelling north through Guatemala. They're encountering crowded shelters, and strained resources and residents who have not been as generous as they were with an earlier caravan on its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. Maria Martin has this report.

MARIA MARTIN, BYLINE: The sign outside the migrant help organization called Casa Migrante in downtown Guatemala City reads, (speaking Spanish), we're sorry, but we're full. Still, hundreds - some estimate thousands - of mostly Honduran migrants sat or stood on the sidewalks for blocks outside the shelter on Thursday evening hoping for a meal, a bed or some direction. Many are on their second or third night of a long journey fleeing Honduras.

ELESEO: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTIN: Thirty-five-year-old Eleseo (ph), from Progreso de Yoro (ph), says one can't live in Honduras. Eleseo believes Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez is to blame for the poverty and violence driving people north. "He's corrupt and shameless," says Eleseo.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILD CRYING)

MARTIN: Among the migrants, there are many families with children.

JUAN RAMON MURILLO: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTIN: Juan Ramon Murillo (ph) and his wife, Vivian (ph), sit on the sidewalk with their 4-year-old daughter, Katherine (ph), between them. He's 27 and says finding work is hard in their community of San Juan. They decided to take the risk to head north to the U.S. to find a better life for their family.

HUMBERTO BARRIOS: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTIN: After many hours of waiting, Father Humberto Barrios (ph) of Casa Migrante comes out to speak to the waiting throng of migrants. "Be calm and patient," he says. "Everyone will get a meal, with priority for the women and children." He says they're working to see if more beds can be found for this night.

BARRIOS: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTIN: "We are alarmed by the large number of people," says Father Humberto. "It's harder now to find shelters than previous caravans now that school is back in session," he says, "especially with no help from the Guatemalan government and the public, for whatever reason, not quite as generous with this group as when the last caravan passed through Guatemala last October." For NPR News, I'm Maria Martin in Antigua, Guatemala. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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