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Mexican authorities fail to thwart caravan of Central American migrants headed for US border
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com
Mexico has given up on stopping the “caravan” of Central American migrants heading for America’s southern border.
The caravan has pushed deeper into the country and is even growing along the way, the Associated Press reported.
Mexico helping caravan
Mexican police initially pushed back against the caravan with riot shields and pepper spray at a bridge crossing on Friday after the crowd tore down a fence, but Mexican authorities have slowly relented after the caravan forded a river through Friday and Saturday, regrouping on the Mexican side by Saturday night. It was a repeat of a pattern already seen in Guatemala and Honduras, whose governments promised toughness only to give up as the migrants pushed through on their northward march to America.
The caravan was supposed to break up in Mexico, but a very different turn of events has actually materialized: it mysteriously more than doubled in size practically overnight Saturday, swelling to more than 5,000 strong by Sunday. The caravan had only 2,000 members after reassembling Saturday night on the northward side of a river dividing Mexico and Guatemala.
Mexican authorities refused mass entry to the migrants at the crossing, allowing small groups to apply for asylum instead. But while hundreds went through the legal process, some 2,000 more crossed the river. The migrants told the AP they bypassed Mexico’s offers of asylum because the process wasn’t fast enough and their real destination is America.
“We are going to get to the border of the U.S.,” a Honduran, who was already deported from America after a run-in with the law, said. “I am not going to stop. I don’t care if I die.”
Mexican nationals have helped the migrants along with food, provisions, and car rides. They’re also getting help from Mexico’s government, which has taken to shepherding the caravan along with police escorts rather than stopping it. The Mexican Interior Department said that authorities were helping migrants with provisions and applying for asylum.
“We are very grateful to [Mexican police] because even though they closed the doors to us (at the border), they are coming behind us taking care of us,” a Honduran migrant told the AP.
Trump blames Mexico, Democrats
The caravan’s advance prompted President Donald Trump to threaten to send the military down to secure the border.
“Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border,” he warned on Thursday.
His threats gave way briefly to praise over the weekend as it appeared America’s southern neighbor would do its part to halt the caravan.
“I just want to say, on behalf of the American public, that we appreciate what Mexico is doing. They’ve really stepped up, and it will not be forgotten,” Trump told reporters after a rally in Nevada on Saturday.
Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2018
But by the time the weekend was over, Trump was fuming over the inaction of Mexico and the Democrats, who he had blamed through the weekend for thwarting immigration enforcement efforts. He also warned that aid cuts to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala would be coming.
“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in,” the president tweeted on Monday. “I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National [emergency]. Must change laws!”
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