Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Bound Caravan Shrinks at Mexico-Guatemala Border Following Clash With Police

Bound Caravan Shrinks at Mexico-Guatemala Border Following Clash With Police

A large, USA -bound group of Central American migrants that President Donald Trump has been attacking all week reached Mexico's southern border Friday and started to cross over after a clash with law enforcement.

Gathered at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo, the migrants voted by a show of hands and then marched to the bridge to urge those still there to cross the river and join them.

Early Sunday, they began walking toward the Suchiate River to team up with those who weren't allowed to cross into Mexico.

Hundreds of mostly Honduran migrants began the long trek home on Saturday (Oct 20), some using free bus tickets from Central American authorities, while many more members of a stalled caravan remained in Guatemala at a tense border crossing with Mexico.

The additional security measures come as US President Donald Trump continues to ramp up pressure on governments in the region to halt the caravan before it hits the southern US border, which Trump has threatened to shut down.

"And I want to thank Mexico!" Organized groups of smugglers assist the migrants on their way north, charging $5,000 or more a person.

The migrants are generally fleeing poverty and insecurity in Honduras, where powerful street gangs rule their turf with brutal violence.

Trump has made it a political issue in the November 6 mid-term U.S. congressional election, threatened to cut off regional aid, close the U.S. -Mexico border and deploy troops there if Mexico failed to halt the migrants.

A Mexican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the country had the capacity to process around 200 people a day.

They swam and rafted across the river from Guatemala before deciding to reform their mass caravan and continue their journey towards the US.

UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley said the agency is reinforcing capacity in southern Mexico to offer counseling, legal assistance and humanitarian aid to asylum-seekers.

They left Honduras just days after Central American leaders met with US Vice President Mike Pence.

"I am asking President Trump to help us.people like me.who want to survive".

"The journey has been very tough, very hard but there's no work in Honduras", said 20-year-old Glenda Salvador, a mother of two toddlers and one of the multitude of Hondurans gathering in a Tecun Uman park close to the bridge crossing from Guatemala to Mexico.

Three federal police units are escorting the massive crowd of migrants marching across southernmost Mexico and a police helicopter has been flying overhead.

Once they were processed, migrants were bused to an open-air, metal-roofed fairground in the nearby city of Tapachula, where the Red Cross set up small blue tents on the concrete floor.

Addressing the caravan situation, Pompeo said, "The Mexican government is making all the decisions on how to address this".

Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala rank among the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas.

Earlier on October 20, the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala said around 2,500 migrants were repatriated to their respective countries.

"So as of this moment, I thank Mexico".

A group of Central American migrants cross the Suchiate River aboard a raft made out of tractor inner tubes and wooden planks, on the the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. "We're going to figure it out", he said, suggesting his administration has a solution but planned to keep that information "low key until the election".

"They're not coming into this country", Trump added.

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