Migration over US-Mexico border 'reaching a moment of crisis': Pompeo

Arturo Kim
October 21, 2018

Cruz, 20, said she was going to ask for political asylum because of threats and repression she faced back in Honduras from President Juan Orlando Hernandez's governing party.

Meanwhile, the rafts that normally ferry throngs of people across the river were carrying mostly merchandise and the raft operators said they had been warned by Mexican authorities not to carry people.

"One way or another, we will pass", they chanted, climbing atop US-donated military jeeps parked at the scene.

"Let's get these people out of there, there's something wrong, they're cuckoo", he said.

Earlier in the day, thousands of migrants, some waving Honduran flags and carrying umbrellas to protect against the sun, arrived at the Guatemalan side of the river, noisily demanding they be allowed to cross.

The re-emergence of immigration as a pressing concern in the USA comes in the middle of heated midterm elections, and Mr. Trump has featured the issue in political rallies held around the country on behalf of Republican congressional candidates. A recent Pew Research Center survey found a majority of Democratic voters - 57 percent - think the treatment of immigrants in the country illegally is a very big problem in the USA, compared with just 15 percent of Republican voters who say the same.

Selvin Flores, a 35-year-old shopkeeper from the Honduran city of Nacaome, says people who "were causing disorder" have been expelled from the group and handed over to Guatemalan police. "It's not going to happen", Trump told the press in Arizona.

He told supporters that the "caravan" of migrants converging on the border between Guatemala and Mexico showed the need for stronger measures to deter them. Within short order, however, the migrants had forced open that fence, too, and pushed forward until they were toe-to-toe with the Mexican riot police, who did not budge.

The caravan of mainly Honduran migrants had surged through a series of police lines and barricades up to the final fence on Mexico´s southern border on Friday.

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He said Mexico was concerned with "the respect to human rights, the dignity of people, as well as the protection of this migrant group, particularly those that are most vulnerable", children, the elderly and pregnant women. On Thursday he threatened to close the USA border if Mexico didn't stop the caravan.

They have also moved about 30 feet (9 meters) back from the gate that separates them from Mexican police to establish a buffer zone.

A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, cries after others stormed a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 19, 2018.

Pompeo said he and Videgaray spoke of the importance of stopping the caravan before it reaches the United States border.

Fearing further repression and long delays, some started boarding the buses destined for the Honduran border town Agua Caliente, where police have stopped hundreds of migrants from leaving the country to join the exodus north.

Could Trump close the US-Mexican border?

This caravan's formation comes just weeks before high-stakes midterm elections in the United States, in which many Republican candidates have been echoing the President's messaging about boosting border security and cracking down on illegal immigration.

Guatemala has closed its border gate and is standing guard with dozens of troops and two armored jeeps.

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

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