Thousands of people stuck between Guatemala and Mexico

21 October, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Mexico Steps Up After Trump Threatens to Close the Border and Cut Aid

Mexico has opened its border to women and children from the thousands-strong migrant caravan that has been attempting to cross from Guatemala and eventually into the US, AFP reports.

Tension was palpable in Ciudad Hidalgo, a tiny tropical village in Mexico surrounded by rain forest and banana plantations that borders Tecun Uman in Guatemala, with the two towns separated by a muddy river.

If Mexico ultimately cracks down on the caravan, it would be seen as a coup for the administration in the United States - especially among Trump's supporters -and would speak to how successful efforts to build bridges with the Mexican government have been, even as Trump continues to boast about building a border wall.

But Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice told the Herald the asylum process is thorough and people should not fear those coming into the country.

Adding to pressure on Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Mexico City to discuss bilateral issues Friday with his Mexican counterparts.

Hundreds of Mexican police were sent to guard the border between the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman and Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico to prepare for the migrant caravan's arrival. Residents of Mexican and Guatemalan border cities brought water and food to the Hondurans after yesterday's police attack.

Several migrants at the Guatemala-Mexico border spoke of entire neighbourhoods leaving their homes to join the trek after news circulated on social media of a call for a new "caravan" to Mexico six months after the previous one. On Thursday he threatened to close the US border if Mexico didn't stop the caravan.

A number of migrants jumped into the Suchiate river to reach rafts, while others either turned back towards Guatemala or simply sat down on the bridge.

Trump has made curbing illegal immigration a keystone of his presidency.

Mexico says the migrants will be processed and that those without a legitimate case to travel onwards or stay in Mexico will be returned to their countries of origin. "Great Midterm issue for Republicans!"

And according to worldwide law, the United States can not deport asylum seekers without first determining the validity of their claim. "Mexico's migration policy is for Mexico to decide", he said.

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Where is the caravan now?

Mexican authorities, in search of a way to satisfy President Trump's demands to deter the migrants without appearing to violate global law, have asked the United Nations to set up a migrant processing center near its southern border.

The caravan formed Saturday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and arrived in Guatemala on Monday.

What will happen to the people?

The migrants intent to claim refugee status but some have raised doubts over who these people really are and whether they are fleeing violence.

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

"Before taking decisions of that kind", Videgaray said, "there would be many people in the United States. who would consider the consequences".

Mindful that many members of the caravan are fleeing poverty and violence, United Nations officials at the shelters will decide which migrants have legitimate claims for refugee status. The UN reported murder rates in 2015 in Honduras standing at 63.75 deaths per 100,000 and El Salvador at 108.64 deaths.

Who and what is behind the Honduran exodus is not fully clear.

The gates were closed again, and police used a loudspeaker to address the masses, saying, "We need you to stop the aggression". In Honduras, there is no work, there is nothing.

Democratic consultant Scott Ferson told the Herald he takes Trump at his word.

Maria: I am from Potrero, Cortés, Honduras. If the Honduran President was more responsible, there wouldn't be so much emigration, but there are no jobs. What have we ever done to him?

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