Thousands of migrants reach Mexico border

Muriel Colon
October 20, 2018

Thousands of migrants travelling in a mass caravan have burst through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed towards Mexican territory, defying Mexican authorities' entreaties for an orderly crossing and US President Donald Trump's threats of retaliation.

Some 4,000 migrants fled their lives of poverty and violence in the Central American country with the hope of making it to the United States - despite repeated warnings from President Trump that he would deploy the U.S. military to stop them.

"I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!"

The Mexican government is "fully engaged" and is making all the necessary decisions to address the issue, Pompeo emphasized, expressing support for the government's plans to call in the United Nations to set up a migrant processing center.

But experts on refugees say those moves are unlikely to stop this caravan or stem future ones, since the migrants are primarily driven by conditions in their home countries, not USA policy.

A sea of migrants surged one step closer to the US on Friday.

"Only God on high can stop us", Escobar told the AP.

But Mexico says it will allow the few with proper paperwork in, while others can apply as refugees.

The migrant caravan is making its way through Guatemala, mostly on foot, with several of the quickest already at Mexico's southern border.


Earlier Friday, a New York Times reporter challenged Trump's assertion that migrants in the caravan were criminals. "We will address every case", he said.

Mexico's southern border is notoriously porous and it was unclear how numerous migrants would attempt to cross legally at the bridge. Later that day he tweeted a video of Mexican federal police deploying at the Guatemalan border and wrote: "Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!"

The group say they will return to try to cross the heavily armed border and continue on their path to America in an hour, according to The Associated Press.

"We are going to the United States!" he said.

As the migrants surged across the border bridge a group of around 50 managed to force their way through before being met by police in riot gear, who subdued them with pepper spray, before others retreated, with some jumping to the river below. They also said migrants caught without papers would be deported.

He said "many criminals" were coming into the United States from Central America. The caravan, which is made up of people who would normally make their way separately toward the US border, has been transformed into a political demonstration whose daily movements are followed closely by all the region's major media outlets, along with the US Spanish-language network Univision.

He said he had spoken with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez about ensuring the migrants who want to return home can do so safely.

Trump's frustration appears to stem in part from record levels of migrants entering the United States with children in the three months since his administration stopped separating families at the border.

Denis Contreras, who is fleeing Honduras with his sister and two nieces, told France24 that his nation's people could "no longer endure so much violence", adding that "this is the beginning of an avalanche that is coming".

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