Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Migrant caravan, now 3,000 strong, prepares to cross Guatemala-Mexico border

Migrant caravan, now 3,000 strong, prepares to cross Guatemala-Mexico border

As a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants inched closer to Mexico's southern border, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a day of meetings here, devoted in part to how those migrants could be stopped before reaching the United States.

President Donald Trump has threatened to call in the military to seal off the US" southern border with Mexico, unless the Mexico takes action to halt a "caravan' of migrants making its way to the U.S. from Central America.

Trump labeled some of the migrants as "criminals", and said he would resort to "stopping all payments" to Central American countries if Mexico did not "stop this onslaught" on the U.S.

His successor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office December 1.

But it's not clear what they will do - if they will physically prevent them from crossing the border or just monitor the situation.

They are now making their way towards a bridge which traverses the Suchiate River.

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A smaller group walked to the border crossing but was blocked by Guatemalan police.

"Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?" he said.

"Mexico is in favor of legal, safe and orderly migration", he noted.

Military officials instructed troops to alert border agents if they encountered migrants, rather than intervene themselves except in cases of self defence.

They plan to cross Mexico's border in the coming days, then continue north to the United States.

In addition to this latest caravan now at the Mexico-Guatemala border, a US border patrol official tells CBS News there has been an increase in large groups attempting to cross into the USA together.

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A federal police officer used a loudspeaker to address the masses, saying: "We need you to stop the aggression".

The map above shows the journey the caravan is taking from Honduras through Guatemala and up through Mexico into the U.S.

In April, Mexican immigration officials had some success in dispersing the smaller caravan by processing many who made a decision to seek refugee status in Mexico, but some did continue on to the us border where they were processed over several days.

But as Trump said at a rally on Thursday that the midterm elections would hinge in part on the caravan, it was clear that us pressure on Mexico to stem the tide of the migrants would continue.

In 2017, the United States sent about $530 million in aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Images of the migrants have prompted questions about whether the United States and Mexico will be able to strike a deal before the migrants reach the US' southern border.

Marcelo Ebrard, who is set to become foreign relations secretary when President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office December 1, said Trump's tweets need to be understood in the context of the upcoming US midterm elections.

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