Caravan of 3,000 Central American migrants prepares to cross into Mexico

Dwayne Harmon
October 20, 2018

This is a breaking news update.

On Thursday, the USA president repeated his threat, writing: "I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S".

Mexican federal police chief Manelich Castilla, speaking from the border town of Ciudad Hidalgo, told Foro TV that his forces achieved their main objective of preventing a violent breach by the 3000-plus migrants.

The migrants are fleeing Honduras where they say they have no prospects.

Mexico says people arriving at the border will be able to apply for refugee status, and has asked for help from the United Nations refugee agency. "Don't continue putting women's and children's lives at risk", a Mexican official pleaded with them through a bullhorn.

Some 3,000 Central American migrants prepared to cross into Mexico from Guatemala on Friday with hopes of eventually arriving to the United States.

"There is nothing there", Orellana said.

The current migrant caravan is the second one this year with the first occurring around April.

According to Mexican authorities, migrants with valid documents and visas would be allowed in. When the crowd calmed, authorities began allowing people to pass over the border.

A handful of migrants jumped into the Suchiate River below to swim for rafts.

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As the sun rose, a military helicopter flew along the Mexican side of the river foreshadowing the difficulties they could face.

While Mexican men travelling without relatives once made up the bulk of the migrants, Guatemalans and other Central Americans travelling in families or as unaccompanied minors are now the norm. As Mexico processes the migrants, the caravan will likely slowly disperse. "It's the third time that I'm trying to cross", the 22-year-old Salvadoran said.

"We obviously are sensitive to the humanitarian situation that we encounter", Gutiérrez said.

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office on December 1, wants to avoid repression against migrants and also avoid angering the United States.

Trump has made it clear to Mexico that he is monitoring its response. He also said that if Mexico failed to block the migrants' course, he would deploy the USA military to the south-west border.

Mexico's ambassador to Guatemala, Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno, met with leaders of the caravan Wednesday and warned them that Hondurans caught without papers in Mexico would be deported.

Thousands of Central Americans moving north refused to be denied by a fence, where Guatemala meets Mexico.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Mexico City on Friday meeting with Mexican officials, said the violence was evidence that the caravan was "an organised effort to come through and violate the sovereignty of Mexico".

"Mexico is in favor of legal, safe and orderly migration", he noted.

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