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Thousands of Hondurans in U.S.-bound migrant caravan head into Mexico

Thousands of Hondurans in U.S.-bound migrant caravan head into Mexico

Hundreds of migrants travelling across Central America in a mass caravan to the U.S. have tried to breach Mexico's southern border and enter the country.

The migrants, who said they gave up trying to enter Mexico legally because the asylum application process was too slow and most want to continue to the US, gathered Saturday at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo.

As the migrants surged across the border bridge a group of around 50 managed to force their way through before being met by police in riot gear, who subdued them with pepper spray, before others retreated, with some jumping to the river below.

The group of migrants, which has swelled to 5,000 according to the Associated Press, intends to reach the USA, having overcome efforts by Mexican officials to thwart it.

As the caravan of Central American migrants enters Mexico, a senior Trump administration official praised the Mexican police for their handling of the "crisis on their southern border".

Some migrants used a rope to jump off the bridge and swim across the river or hitch a ride on the many rafts that cross it regularly.

"Every time there's a (migrant) caravan there are police sent to the southern border ... but we've never seen anything as dramatic as we're seeing today", said Eunice Rendon, coordinator of migrant advocacy group Agenda Migrante. He says the remaining migrants "do not want misunderstandings". Authorities handed out numbers for people to be processed in a strategy seen before at USA border posts when dealing with large numbers of migrants. They were taken safely on a raft to Mexican territory.

Mr Trump has made it a political issue in the Nov 6 midterm US congressional election, threatened to cut off regional aid, close the US-Mexico border and deploy troops there if Mexico failed to halt the migrants.

They included 52 children, nine of them 5 years old or younger. "Mexico's migration policy is for Mexico to decide", he said.

Hundreds of people in a caravan of migrants that crossed from Honduras into Guatemala staged a dramatic bid to breach the Mexican border on Friday, as local governments began preparing to disperse the convoy under pressure from Washington.

The soft-spoken 25-year-old said he was traveling with three friends who chose to remain in the caravan, but that for him, the fear of being deported once he reached Mexico was too much.

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On Friday, US President Donald Trump thanked Mexico for holding back the migrants from crossing into the US.

Aguilar says he had to pay the two main gangs there protection money in order to work.

In interview with Radio Formula, Navarrete said Mexico's relationship with Trump's government has been harsh "because they're demanding things that the country, of course, won't accept ... like stopping the migrant caravans and carry out massive deportations".

"If that doesn't work out, we're calling up the military, not the guard, we are calling up the military and we're going to have the military stationed there, not coming into this country".

"One way or another, we will pass!" the migrants chanted as they approached the gates in the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman.

Most of the people now caught trying to enter the United States illegally hail from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, among the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas.

In recent days, as the much-publicized caravan traversed Guatemala, Mexico dispatched planeloads of federal police and other authorities in anticipation of an influx.

"So as of this moment, I thank Mexico", Trump said Friday at an event in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"We are not criminals, we are workers!" Also, not having them all concentrated at the Guatemalan border will likely make it easier to find shelter for them while their cases are processed. "And neither does our country want them in our country".

A family in the migrant caravan waits at a gate separating Guatemala from Mexico.


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