Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Migrant caravan risks river to reach Mexico

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Pablo Mccormick | 22 October, 2018, 10:24

The Facebook Live video, shared on October 19, shows Mexican police in riot gear and migrants crowding the border crossing between Ciudad Tecun Uman, in Guatemala, and Ciudad Hidalgo, in Mexico's Chiapas state. Her husband, David Martinez, said they were exhausted, but had to push on to reach their goal of making it to the U.S.

Mr Trump has said that he would send troops to the southern USA border if there was a mass attempt to cross from Mexico and has placed immigration at the top of the midterm election campaign.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the countries ought to reach a deal to invest in Central America and southern Mexico, which are home to come of the region's poorest areas.

Some 2,000 Honduran migrants were already back home after giving up on continuing to Mexico, Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales said at a press conference in Guatemala City alongside his Honduran counterpart, President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

In the president-elect's words: "He who leaves his town does not leave for pleasure but out of necessity".

Numerous migrants are seeking refugee status in either Mexico or the United States.

He takes office December 1.

President Trump repeated his recent threats to seal the border to prevent the migrants from entering the U.S.in a series of tweets Sunday afternoon, blaming Democrats for the situation.

The president has been increasingly outspoken on immigration as the November midterms loom.

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"The Caravans are a disgrace to the Democrat Party. Change the immigration laws NOW!", he said.

"Full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our [southern] border", he tweeted. "People have to apply for asylum in Mexico first, and if they fail to do that, the US will turn them away", Trump wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday. It was unclear how numerous group were from the migrant caravan and how many were Mexicans who joined the march.

As they passed through Mexican villages on the outskirts of Ciudad Hidalgo, they drew applause, cheers and donations of food and clothing from Mexicans.

"For now we'll wait", said Honduran migrant Alexander Alvarado.

Passing freight trucks were quickly boarded by dozens of migrants, and straining tuk-tuks carried as many as a half-dozen.

Brenda Sanchez of San Pedro Sula rode in Valdivia's truck Sunday with three nephews aged 10 to 19.

Sanchez also had kind words for federal police, who previously had stopped the caravan at the Guatemalan border. "We knocked down the door and we continue walking".

Thousands of Honduran migrants hoping to reach the US stretched out on rain-soaked sidewalks, benches and public plazas in the southern Mexico city of Tapachula, worn down by another day's march under a blazing sun. Others have been buying snacks in convenience stores. After settling in at one post well ahead of the caravan, the police then moved back closer to Tapachula.

Hector Aguilar, a 49-year-old sales manager who worked as a taxi driver in Honduras' Yoro province to feed his four children, said he had to pay the two main gangs there protection money in order to work. They were not blocking the highway.

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Some 5,000 Central American migrants traveling in the caravan left the border at Ciudad Hidalgo at dawn. Most had circumvented Mexican immigration officials and crossed the Suchiate river from Guatemala on rafts or by swimming.

On Sunday, federal police monitored the caravan's progress from a helicopter and had a few units escorting it. Mexican authorities previously outlined their plan to respond to the caravan once it arrived at the Mexican border.

People in the town were sympathetic to the migrants. Some prepared tubs full of plastic bags of water to give the migrants, who by now are walking under a blazing sun.

It's unclear exactly how many migrants were allowed to legally cross the border into Mexico, where they were taken to shelters to rest.

The number of migrants swelled to about 5,000 as more people continue to join the group that stretches for about a mile.

The migrants have defied threats by Trump that he will close the U.S. -Mexico border if the caravan advances, as well as warnings from the Mexican government that they risk deportation if they can not justify seeking asylum in Mexico.

But during a caravan last spring, many migrants who had been working and living at the Guatemala-Mexico border chose to join the caravan when it passed because it was safer to travel together.

The decision to form a migrant caravan came after some migrants have up trying to enter Mexico legally because the asylum application process was too slow and most consider the U.S.as their final destination is the US, where Trump says he will close the border on them. The Interior Ministry said in its statement that migrants will begin the refugee application process at the country's National Institute of Migration, where their data will be collected, before they are sent to shelters that have been "enabled for their accommodation".

A Honduran migrant child, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, looks though the gate on the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Oct. 20, 2018. The entry into Mexico via the bridge has been closed.

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