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Will Mexican authorities stop US-bound migrant caravan?

21 October 2018

Migrants have been known to cross the river on rafts for years - sometimes encountering authorities along the way, sometimes meeting little resistance as they slipped into Mexico and continued their journey north.

"Ironically, the way President Trump responds to these caravans makes it harder for the Mexican government to cooperate with the USA on immigration enforcement", Selee said. "These are some bad people coming through". But police on the Mexican side of the bridge pepper sprayed and pushed them back, CBS News said, adding that about 50 managed to get through.

"If the Democrats would stop being obstructionists and come together, we could write up and agree to new immigration laws in less than one hour", Trump tweeted on Saturday, implying that it could be more productive to cooperate rather than fight.

One day earlier, Trump thanked Mexico for sending police and riot gear to the Mexico-Guatemala border.

As part of the new agreement, Mexican officials say they have requested the intervention of the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees to establish shelters along its southern border.

The Associated Press reports that many migrants do not have passports and have been using national ID cards, which allow them to travel within Central America.

"The Mexican Government is fully engaged in finding a solution that encourages safe, secure, and orderly migration", State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Saturday, "and both the United States and Mexico continue to work with Central American governments to address the economic, security, and governance drivers of illegal immigration".

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Pompeo, who also met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, said the situation is quickly reaching a point of crisis and the caravan must be stopped before it reaches the USA border.

The border between Mexico and Guatemala has always been famously porous. Video showed coughing and weeping migrants collapsed on the bridge.

The agency said camera operators monitoring movement on Thursday afternoon along the US-Mexico border in the Yuma area captured images of a large number of people being dropped over the border wall east of the San Luis Port of Entry.

"With so many people here now, there's no way they can control them", said Juan Carlos Arana, who works for one of the informal raft businesses. Some claimed they had been teargassed during the fracas.

"I chose the caravan in an instant", said Eduardo Martinez, 25, also from Choluteca.

The migrants had grown frustrated with Mexico's attempts to process them and circumvented authorities by crossing the Suchiate river illegally.

"As soon as I heard about it on television, I decided right away", said Nestor Rogelio Reyes, 34.

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"We thought the caravan was passive but there were unruly people, I was disappointed", said the 37-year-old farmer as he boarded a bus in Tecun Uman, Guatemala to take him back to Honduras.

Jonathan Perales, 22, arrived with his wife Heidy and their daughters ages 2 and 4. "A white lady", he said.

After US President Donald Trump made several threats to cut foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador if they did not halt the migration caravan, he applauded Mexico for sending troops to the border.

Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration studies said the migrants are not gang members and "we should have sympathy towards them", but security threats are a reality.

And so the migrants here camped out in the plaza, some on the stage of a small open-air amphitheater. He said he'd do any kind of work.

"I don't know what happened, I thought we were going to cross peacefully and then suddenly there were rocks flying and tear gas", she told AFP. She cried out: "This girl is suffocating". "It's solidarity", she said. In announcing its decision, the Mexican government appeared to tout a strong line by asserting that any migrant with "proper immigration papers" would be deported back to their country of origin.

To put that in context, in the early 2000s the authorities were arresting 1.5 million undocumented immigrants a year, while in 2018 so far there have been under 400,000 people detained.

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In part, the response is meant to both dissuade the migrants from even attempting to enter Mexico and potentially to show the Trump administration that Mexico is willing to, as the government put it, "maintain order".

Will Mexican authorities stop US-bound migrant caravan?