The 5 biggest myths about the migrant caravan

CNN —  

You may have heard the migrant caravan is full of Mexicans. Or that they’re trying to enter the US illegally. But neither is true.

With all the myths circulating about the caravan at the Mexico-US border, let’s separate fact from fiction:

MYTH: These migrants are from Mexico.

FACT: These migrants are actually from Central America – namely, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They spent weeks traveling through Mexico, and some have decided to stay there. But many are trying to gain asylum in the US.

How bad is it in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador?

MYTH: These migrants are trying to enter the US illegally.

FACT: These migrants are seeking asylum, which allows people fleeing persecution to live legally in a different country. And international law requires countries to hear asylum seekers’ requests.

It’s actually illegal to dismiss asylum seekers without hearing their cases. A class action lawsuit filed last year accuses US Borders and Customs Protections of illegally turning away asylum seekers.

MYTH: These migrants are just trying to get US jobs to send money back home.

FACT: Many of these asylum seekers are escaping rampant violence, famine or persecution in Central America.

MYTH: Most people who seek asylum in the US receive it.

FACT: Most asylum seekers are actually denied, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

The rates of denial are particularly high for Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans. More than 75% of applicants from those countries between 2011 and 2016 were rejected.

MYTH: A new border wall would help prevent these migrants from entering the US.

FACT: As asylum seekers, these migrants are turning themselves in to authorities at the border and trying to start the formal process of getting protected status. It’s unclear how long they’ll have to wait before a decision on granting or denying their asylum requests is issued.

CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.