Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Mexico deploys hundreds of riot police as migrants near

Mexico deploys hundreds of riot police as migrants near

Several thousand Honduran migrants seeking to escape violence and poverty moved through Guatemala on the way to Mexico, with some hoping to enter the United States.

He called on Mexico to ensure the migrants do not reach the USA border while threatening Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with financial penalties. Migrants broke down the gates at the border crossing and began streaming toward a bridge into Mexico.

One of the migrants, Juan Escobar, 24, said he had heard about Trump's comments but said they would not dissuade the migrants from continuing their journey.

The specifics of Trump's latest plan to use military personnel in the immigration dispute are unclear.

Most of the migrants are from Honduras, but some have joined the caravan from other Central American countries.

The president attacked US Democrats - accusing them of encouraging illegal migration - as well as Central American leaders and the migrants themselves, referring in a tweet to "criminal elements and drugs pouring in". NBC News reports the Mexican government sent 500 officers to the country's border with Guatemala ahead of their approach.

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Mexico's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it needs the United Nations body's help to manage all the refugee applications. "They came in droves from Guatemala and Honduras through the Mexican border and for years Uncle Sam rolled out the welcome mat offering housing, food, medical treatment and a free education". President Trump warned this week that he will halt federal aid funding to the two nations if they do not act to stop the exodus.

Central American migrants hiked from Honduras through muddy jungle and residential streets, some toting babies along with backpacks, Reuters images show.

The Washington Post reported this week that Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 per cent increase from July, according to unpublished Department of Homeland Security statistics. They'd been traveling since 4 a.m. and arrived at the border after dark.

Mexico's government says migrants with proper documents can enter Mexico and those who don't either have to apply for refugee status or face deportation. It said officials were already assisting some migrants who had crossed and requested refugee status. "Foreign Secretary Videgray and I spoke about the importance of stopping this flow before it reaches the USA border - we are deeply aware that the way Mexico will handle this is your sovereign decision". That episode caused a spat between the United States and Mexico and was used to justify a deployment of National Guard troops to the border.

While Trump is threatening to eliminate aid, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been pushing efforts to improve US ties in Central America to reduce the flow of migrants.

Edgar Corzo of Mexico's National Human Rights Commission expressed concern about the police deployment in Ciudad Hidalgo.

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