A U.S.-bound caravan that after totalled greater than three,000 Central American migrants a couple of third that dimension Saturday morning, when its remaining members awakened on a bridge that divides the borders of Guatemala and Mexico and waited to get previous a crossing guarded by tons of of Mexican federal police.
Lots of of migrants have already crossed, some legally, some not. It’s unclear whether or not any have merely turned again.
READ MORE: ‘Solely God on excessive can cease us,’ Migrant caravan gathers at Guatemala-Mexico border
The group had burst by a Guatemalan border fence Friday and rushed onto the crossing over the Suchiate River, defying officers’ entreaties for an orderly crossing and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of retaliation. They have been met by a wall of police with riot shields, and solely about 50 migrants managed to push their approach by earlier than officers unleashed pepper spray. The remaining retreated, becoming a member of the ocean of individuals on the bridge between each international locations.
Police and immigration brokers started letting small teams of 10, 20 or 30 folks by the gates at a time in the event that they needed to use for refugee standing. As soon as they filed a declare, they got the choice to go to a shelter to spend the night time.
Different migrants, uninterested in ready, jumped off the bridge into the river on Friday. Some organized a rope brigade to ford its muddy waters or floated throughout on rafts operated by native residents who normally cost a greenback or two to make the crossing.
WATCH: Trump says migrant caravan has ‘some dangerous folks’
As daybreak broke Saturday, tons of of migrants awoke amid rubbish that had already piled up on the bridge. With out loos, a foul odour wafted by the air.
Jose Yanez had slept with no blanket, however vowed to proceed.
“From right here, we’re occurring. From right here, there’s no turning again,” mentioned the 25-year-old farmer, including that he makes 150 lempiras a day in Honduras, or about $6, and has no work advantages.
Different migrants managed to catch relaxation below tarps and plastic sheets.
Alison Danisa wept as she knelt on the bottom, clutching her bare 11-month-old toddler to her breast.
“We’ve suffered a lot. She has a fever and we introduced nothing,” she mentioned, exhibiting the child’s naked backside to point that they had no diapers.
On Friday, a Mexican marine official with a loudspeaker approached the gate and advised migrants they might be taken in vehicles to “a humanitarian consideration heart” in Tapachula, a border metropolis within the Mexican state of Chiapas. However the official didn’t say when this might occur.
Later within the night time, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto mentioned in an deal with to the nation that a big group of migrants had “tried to enter Mexican territory irregularly, attacking and even hurting some components of the federal police.”
“Mexico doesn’t allow and won’t allow entry into its territory in an irregular trend, a lot much less in a violent trend,” he mentioned.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez tweeted late Friday that he spoke along with his Guatemalan counterpart, Jimmy Morales, and requested permission to ship Honduran civil safety personnel to the bridge to assist the migrants.
“I additionally requested authorization to rent floor transportation for anybody who desires to return and an air bridge for particular circumstances of ladies, youngsters, the aged and the sick,” Hernandez tweeted.
Hernandez and Morales are anticipated to satisfy in Guatemala on Saturday to debate the state of affairs.
Acner Adolfo Rodriguez, 30, one of many final migrants by the breached Guatemala border fence, mentioned he hoped to search out work and a greater life removed from the widespread poverty and gang violence in Honduras, one of many world’s deadliest international locations.
“Might Trump’s coronary heart be touched so he lets us by,” Rodriguez mentioned.
The U.S. president has made it clear to Mexico that he’s monitoring its response. On Thursday, he threatened to shut the U.S. border if Mexico didn’t cease the caravan. Later that day he tweeted a video of Mexican federal police deploying on the Guatemalan border and wrote: “Thanks Mexico, we look ahead to working with you!”
Mexican officers mentioned these with passports and legitimate visas — solely a tiny minority of these making an attempt to cross — could be let in instantly.
Migrants who wish to apply for refuge in Mexico have been welcome to take action, they mentioned, however any who determine to cross illegally and are caught will likely be detained and deported.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday with Pena Nieto and International Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray in Mexico Metropolis, with the caravan excessive on the agenda.
At a information convention with Videgaray, Pompeo known as unlawful migration a “disaster” and emphasised “the significance of stopping this circulate earlier than it reaches the U.S. border,” whereas additionally acknowledging Mexico’s proper to deal with the disaster in a sovereign trend.
“Mexico will make its resolution,” Pompeo mentioned. “Its leaders and its folks will determine one of the simplest ways to realize what I imagine are our shared targets.”
At Mexico Metropolis’s airport earlier than leaving, Pompeo mentioned 4 Mexican federal law enforcement officials had been injured within the border standoff and expressed his sympathy.
On Thursday, Videgaray requested the U.N. for assist processing what Mexico expects to be a lot of asylum requests.
WATCH: Some Migrants attempt to enter Mexico by river as caravan arrives at Mexico border
Migrants have banded collectively to journey en masse repeatedly lately, however this caravan was uncommon for its big dimension, mentioned Victor Clark Alfaro, a Latin American research professor at San Diego State College. By comparability, a caravan in April that additionally attracted Trump’s ire numbered about 1,000.
“It grabs one’s consideration that the variety of folks in these sorts of caravans is on the rise,” Clark Alfaro mentioned. “It’s migration of a special dimension.”
Elizabeth Oglesby, a professor on the College of Arizona’s Middle for Latin American Research, mentioned folks be part of caravans like this as a result of it’s a technique to make the journey in a comparatively secure method and keep away from having to pay 1000’s of to smugglers. She disputed Pompeo’s assertion that there’s a “disaster” of migration.
“The border is just not in disaster. This isn’t a migration disaster. … Sure, we’re seeing some spikes in Central Individuals crossing the border, however general migration is at a 40-year low,” Oglesby mentioned.
WATCH: Mike Pompeo calls migrant caravan a ‘disaster’
Talking on the Televisa community, Videgaray didn’t appear involved about Trump’s risk to shut the U.S.-Mexico border, saying it needed to be considered in gentle of the hotly contested U.S. midterm elections, during which Trump has made border safety a significant marketing campaign concern.
Videgaray famous that 1 million folks transit the border legally every single day, and about $1 million in commerce crosses each minute.
“Earlier than taking selections of that sort,” Videgaray mentioned, “there could be many individuals in the US … who would contemplate the results.”