Thousands of Central American migrants in caravan storm Mexico's southern border
- Author: Joey Payne Oct 22, 2018,
Oct 22, 2018, 2:04
Thousands of people travelling across Central America en masse to the United States have resumed their journey to enter the country from southern Mexico.
The migrants, who said they gave up trying to enter Mexico legally because the asylum application process was too slow, gathered on Saturday at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo.
They seemed likely to be people who had been waiting on the bridge over the Suchiate River or in the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman and who chose to cross during the night.
"Why would I want to go to the United States if I'm going to be persecuted" there as well, she said.
"Honestly, I want to get to the states to contribute to that country, to do any kind of work, picking up garbage", he said.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen tweeted that DHS would continue "to support our Mexican partners as they take steps to confront the crisis on their southern border".
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to halt aid to Honduras and Guatemala, and potentially close down the U.S. border with Mexico with the help of the military if the migrants' march is not stopped.
Mr Hernandez said another 486 migrants were in transit back to Honduras, a roughly 12-hour trip by road. But if Mexico throws up their hands and allows them to make it all the way through their country or simply fails to intercept a significant portion of them it will become our problem.
Some 5,000 Central American migrants traveling in the caravan left the border at Ciudad Hidalgo at dawn.
A Mexican migration official who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly said that between Friday and Saturday, authorities had deported by bus about 500 people who voluntarily made a decision to return.
His comments came ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Mexico on Friday to meet with outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, with the migrant caravan due to be on the agenda.
Throngs of people continued to wait on the bridge border crossing, where on Saturday morning many pressed for limited opportunities to plead their case to immigration officials, while many others opted to cross the river illegally, either on jury-rigged rafts or by swimming.
Hundreds of Mexican Federal Police sealed the border as drones and helicopters hovered above the crowd. "Nobody is going to stop us!"
The caravan was headed for Tapachula, a city about 37 km (23 miles) north of the Mexico-Guatemala border, the officers told CNN.
The first members of the 3,000-strong caravan began arriving in the Guatemalan border town of Tecun Uman on buses and trucks early Thursday, but the bulk of the group sloshed into town on foot in a downpour late in the afternoon and into the evening. "As of this moment, I thank Mexico".
Overnight, a policeman said 220 Hondurans had begun to return to their country and another 130 were awaiting transport in a local migrant shelter.
"If that doesn't work out, we're calling up the military - not the (National) Guard - we're calling up the military", he told reporters.
The president has repeatedly claimed that the migrants, and immigrants more broadly, lead to increased crime rates and allow illegal substances to pass over the border, although statistics suggest they do not.
"They're not coming into this country", Trump added.