A caravan of thousands of Central American men, women and children is slowly making its way north through Mexico. Trekking hundreds of miles on foot, many of the asylum seekers say their eventual goal is to cross the southern border of the United States. But what type of welcome will they receive once they get there?

US President Donald Trump is considering plans to deny asylum and ban the entry of Central American migrants. Additionally, 5,200 US troops will be deployed to provide support to US Border Patrol - a decision that has prompted outrage from rights groups.

With the US midterm elections one week away, Trump and other Republicans are portraying the migrant caravan as "an invasion" and using the issue to criticise US Democrats' position on immigration.

The president's opponents, though, accuse him of whipping up fear to win support for an anti-immigration agenda, pointing out that the caravan is still more than 1,000 kilometres away and that such caravans are not unusual.

This latest caravan – which has inspired the formation of new caravans – started in mid-October in Honduras. As word of the Honduran migration spread, people from Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador also joined. Many say they are fleeing poverty and gang violence in their home countries.

How should the US respond to Central American caravans, is the issue being exploited for political ends, and what can the people making their way to the US expect from the asylum seeking process? We will ask a panel of experts. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

John Holman, @johnholman100
Al Jazeera Correspondent

Hugo Castro
Human Rights Activist

Raquel Godos, @RaquelGodos
Jouranlist, EFE News

Read more: 
Trump considering plan to ban entry of migrants at southern border, deny asylum - Washington Post
How Republicans are using immigration to scare voters to the polls - Reuters
Latin American asylum seekers hit US policy “wall” – IRIN News

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