Mexico vows to meet migrant 'challenge' as caravan hits border


Several thousand Honduran migrants seeking to escape violence and poverty moved through Guatemala on the way to Mexico, with some hoping to enter the United States. However, this one, coming as it does so close to the U.S. mid-term elections in November, has taken on a highly political dimension, to that point that President Trump has threatened to use the military and close the U.S. southern border.

A Honduran migrant mother and child cower as they are surrounded by Mexican Federal Police in riot gear, at the border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 19, 2018.

In a series of raging tweets, the U.S. president urged Mexico to "stop this onslaught" and prevent the would-be immigrants from entering the US.

The caravan successfully used the same strategy on Monday to cross from Honduras to Guatemala at the border town of Agua Caliente, despite efforts by some 100 police to stop them.

Trump took things up a notch, falsely accusing Democrats wanting "Open Borders" and leading the "assault on our country" by a "large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS".

Trump tweeted that he wanted "Mexico to stop this onslaught".

Mexican Federal Police officers try to prevent Honduran migrants from crossing the border. "Mexico's policy consists in respecting and protecting human rights" of migrants, Mexican Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete said earlier this week. On Thursday and Friday, the group clashed with police in the town and fought with them as Mexican man who was supporting the march was arrested.

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On Tuesday, Trump threatened to halt aid to Honduras if its leader did not somehow stop the caravan from moving northward.

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.

On the Mexico side, the border post is guarded by a heavy security force and tall metal gates.

Mexico's government has sought assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help process migrants claiming refugee status at the border, which could allow it to disperse the train of people and placate Mr. Trump.

Officials in Mexico said anyone in the Honduran caravan who had proper documents could enter the country.

Marcelo Ebrard, Lopez Obrador's pick to become foreign relations secretary after he takes office, said Trump's tweets needed to be understood in the context of the upcoming USA midterm elections. Their objective now is to regroup and press on towards the border with Mexico.

He also threatened to send in the United States military to "CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" and keep out "MANY CRIMINALS" among the migrants. "Foreign Secretary Videgray and I spoke about the importance of stopping this flow before it reaches the USA border - we are deeply aware that the way Mexico will handle this is your sovereign decision".