- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Hondurans who make up most of the illegal immigrant caravan still churning through Mexico say they’re asylum seekers — but the vast majority of their countrymen making the journey north are actually regular economic migrants, according to a new study this month.

Relatively few are actually fleeing violence, while more than 80 percent told pollsters it’s all about better opportunities elsewhere. The poll was taken by the Reflection, Research and Communication Team, which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic order of Jesuits in Honduras, and surveyed nearly 1,600 Hondurans in February, just a month before the caravan organized.

A stunning 44.3 percent of Hondurans said they are looking to emigrate — a figure that suggests a new surge of people could be headed north.

The findings, which were released last week in Honduras and translated and released here in the U.S. by the Center for Immigration Studies on Monday, contrast with the image of the caravan, whose participants claim they are asylum seekers who deserve political protections in the U.S.

Immigrant-rights activists have said in addition to political unrest, migrants from Central America are fleeing horrific violence and neighborhoods controlled by gangs.

But the percentage of Hondurans who said they were thinking of emigrating because of violence is actually down significantly — some 33 percent — compared to the same survey released a few years ago.

“The declining relevance of violence as a push-factor may be a result of the decreasing levels of violence in the country,” the Center concluded. “Homicide rates in Honduras have continued to fall since 2012.”

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