By Yoseph Amaya
CORINTO, Honduras (Reuters) -Police made a U.S.-bound caravan of several hundred Honduran migrants turn back on Tuesday because they lacked identification documents and a negative coronavirus tests, according to a Reuters witness.
The migrants, mostly young adults with backpacks and women carrying children, had begun walking in the early morning from a bus terminal in the northern city San Pedro Sula to nearby Choloma, where they hitched rides on trucks and buses.
The group hoped to reach the United States to escape poverty worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.
"You have to take risks to have a better life in the United States," migrant Carlos Flores told a local television station. "Here you can hardly eat with what you earn, if you can even find work."
The group was the second large caravan to set out from Honduras this year. Previous caravans drew the attention of U.S. officials who called on the region's governments to stop them.
The Honduran police set up a road checkpoint close to the Guatemalan border crossing at the town of Corinto in northern Honduras. Migrants who did not have the required paperwork were driven 114 kilometers (71 miles) back to the city of San Pedro Sula on police trucks and buses, the Reuters witness said.
Honduras' national immigration authority on Tuesday also said 32 migrants were expelled by Guatemala after crossing the border illegally.
Migrant caravans have been less frequent over the past year in part due to Guatemalan and Mexican security forces breaking them up under pressure from both the administrations of U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Central Americans have made up the bulk of a sharp increase in migrants trying to reach the United States via Mexico in recent weeks, putting pressure on Biden.
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman)