Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Mexico seeks assistance from United Nations for migrant caravan

Mexico seeks assistance from United Nations for migrant caravan

The caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants marching towards the United States dramatically turned around as they reached the Mexican border in Guatemala on Friday morning, a day after hundreds of their comrades faced off with police.

The Mexican government is "fully engaged" and is making all the necessary decisions to address the issue, Pompeo emphasized, expressing support for the government's plans to call in the United Nations to set up a migrant processing center.

The issue with Trump's threat is that deploying active US military troops for domestic law enforcement duties is illegal, unless he declares a national emergency and is granted a waiver by Congress.

Though it began with just a couple hundred Hondurans headed for the United States, the support flowing in from leftist organizers and funders has grown this new caravan of hopeful immigrants into the thousands.

Anyone with appropriate travel documents and visas will be let into Mexico, while others will be allowed to apply for refugee status.

A caravan of migrants, whose numbers have been estimated to range between 3,000 to 4,000 strong, began converging on the Guatemala-Mexico border early Thursday evening.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday with President Enrique Pena Nieto and Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray in Mexico City, with the caravan high on the agenda.

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"We're going to rest here and wait for the others who are on their way so we can enter (Mexico) en masse, like we did at Agua Caliente", Edgar Elias, one of the leaders of the caravan, told AFP. The group formed in Honduras on Saturday, the latest in a series of caravans going back to around 2008 to help people living in violent and corrupt Central American nations.

Mexico sent federal police officers to the border and had Mexico's ambassador to Guatemala meet with the migrants to tell them proper papers would be needed to cross into Mexico.

Migrants poured through Guatemalan border posts in the town of Tecun Uman and onto a bridge leading to Mexico, only to be halted by dozens of Mexican police in riot gear.

Frustrated by Congress' failure to fully fund his proposed wall at the border with Mexico, Trump in April ordered National Guard personnel to help the Department of Homeland Security secure the border in four southwestern USA states. "I don't think you can prevent people from leaving if they want to".

Most migrants are carrying few belongings, taking what they can carry in backpacks, as they head out on the almost 2,800 mile (4,500km) trek.

A day earlier, he tweeted, "Hard to believe that with thousands of people from South of the Border, walking unimpeded toward our country in the form of large Caravans, that the Democrats won't approve legislation that will allow laws for the protection of our country". More than 150 members of that group crossed the border and sought asylum. The caravan, which is made up of people who would normally make their way separately toward the US border, has been transformed into a political demonstration whose daily movements are followed closely by all the region's major media outlets, along with the US Spanish-language network Univision.

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