Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Mexico vows to meet migrant 'challenge' as caravan hits border

Mexico vows to meet migrant 'challenge' as caravan hits border

Mexico's incoming foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, told local radio that he was not surprised by Trump's comments, and said it was political.

The Honduran migrant caravan was sparked by the poverty and insecurity in the Central American country, wracked by gang and drug-related violence.

Leopold also pushes back on President Trump targeting caravans and says the United States needs to get to the root of the problem to make a sustainable impact on illegal immigration.

In April, Mexican immigration officials had some success in dispersing a smaller caravan by processing many who chose to seek refugee status in Mexico, but some did continue on to the us border. Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters last week that those soldiers were working in all four states that share a border with Mexico to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Late on Thursday night, a small number of the Honduran group who broke off from the main crowd were able to successfully cross over into Mexico.

One administration, that of President Enrique Peña Nieto, is leaving office and the new one, of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, isn't yet through the door. He has long pushed economic development as a way to keep people from migrating, and on Wednesday he reached out again. "At the time more than 60,000 UACs-many with criminal histories-had stormed into the U.S.in a matter of months. Anyone who wants to work in our country will have help, will have a work visa", he pledged. Mexican Federal Police released a video of officers arriving in the border state of Chiapas, some toting riot gear. By Thursday, the caravan had dispersed a bit, with the youngest and strongest of the migrants walking ahead together, some boarding buses or trying to hitch rides.

Erika Guevara-Rosas of Amnesty International said in a statement: "Mexican authorities should not take a Trump approach treating people like a security threat".

Despite their sharp differences, the U.S. and Mexico have made progress on several issues, including the signing of an updated transcontinental trade pact, the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The caravan successfully used the same strategy on Monday to cross from Honduras to Guatemala at the border town of Agua Caliente, despite efforts by some 100 police to stop them.

U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said U.S. border security was a key election issue.

Trump's stance, he said, was "what he has always presented", adding he saw "nothing surprising in it". Any who are determined to have a legitimate claim will begin the process of being placed in a host country - which may or may not be the US - and the rest will be sent packing.

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