Hundreds in migrant caravan turn back, some trickle into Mexico

Hundreds in migrant caravan turn back, some trickle into Mexico

Kerry Wise
October 22, 2018

AP reporters interviewed a number of them who explained that they had "already waited too long" and were crossing the river into Mexico illegally.

One of the migrants marching to Ciudad Hidalgo, Luis Miguel Martinez, 30, also said his goal was to find work in the United States so he could feed his family, including two daughters he left behind in Honduras.

Many Central Americans in a mass caravan at the Mexican border with Guatemala appear inclined to apply for any kind of refugee status in Mexico, even though most initially meant to make it to the United States.

After being denied entry into Mexico, many of them began jumping off the bridge to swim to shore while many others headed downriver where they tried to use makeshift rafts to float to the Mexican border.

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 their final destination is the US, where Trump says he will close the border on them.

"So as of this moment, I thank Mexico", Trump said Friday at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was unclear how numerous group were from the migrant caravan and how many were Mexicans who joined the march.

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

President Trump, who has threatened to close down the U.S. border and cut aid to countries allowing the caravan to pass, said the military would be called upon if needed.

"It's really full. You can't even walk, there's just so many people", he said of the migrants.

The president, without elaborating further, blamed the Democrats for the caravan on Twitter last week, blaming them for "weak laws".

Carrying backpacks and small children, many bedraggled migrants simply sat down on the bridge.

Mexico's government has said throughout the past week that it would register the migrants and process requests for asylum.

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Other police said they planned to offer migrants a chance to secure legal paperwork in a local shelter but would not detain or deter them if they refused.

They marched on through Mexico like a rag tag army of the poor, shouting triumphantly slogans like "Si se pudo!" or "Yes, we could!"

Chaos erupted as Honduran migrants in a caravan surged across a bridge leading to Mexico on Friday.

Dozens of Mexican federal police officers are on the border bridge, with hundreds more behind them.

"I don't know what happened, I thought we were going to cross peacefully and then suddenly there were rocks flying and tear gas".

President Trump, who has threatened to cut aid to Honduras over the issue, thanked Mexico for holding back the group.

The Mexican authorities had attempted to stop them at a border bridge between Mexico and Guatemala.

It is unknown from where the additional 3,000 came - Guatemala or Mexico.

"We are not criminals, we are workers!"

"They're not coming into this country", said Trump, who has sought to make the caravan and border security in general a campaign issue for Republicans ahead of the US midterm elections. "They're not coming into this country".

The president has repeatedly claimed that the migrants, and immigrants more broadly, lead to increased crime rates and allow illegal substances to pass over the border, although statistics suggest they do not.

The leaders said an estimated 5,400 migrants had entered Guatemala since the caravan was announced a week ago, and about 2,000 Hondurans have returned voluntarily.