Pressure turns to Mexico as migrant caravan heads for border

Jermaine Castillo
October 20, 2018

On Wednesday, the president also threatened to cut US aid to the Northern Triangle countries - Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - saying "all payments made to them will STOP (END)!".

The caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants marching towards the United States dramatically turned around as they reached the Mexican border in Guatemala on Friday morning, a day after hundreds of their comrades faced off with police.

Mexican Ambassador to the United States Geronimo Gutierrez on Thursday said he was not aware of a deal between the United States and Mexico to stop the Honduran migrant "caravan" fleeing north to the United States' southern border.

He said securing the border is "far more important" than trade, including the newly agreed upon USMCA, a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

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

"Hard to believe that with thousands of people from South of the Border, walking unimpeded toward our country in the form of large Caravans, that the Democrats won't approve legislation that will allow laws for the protection of our country", tweeted the President this week.

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The caravan of about 4,000 people from Central America were nearing the Mexico-Guatemala border.

US -bound migrant caravans have been going on for years - with traveling in numbers seen as offering protection from assaults, robberies, even shakedowns by police.

Vaughan also pointed out that Guatemala has already caved into the caravan, but she is encouraged that Mexico has deployed officers to its southern border.

The Mexican government has responded to Trump's orders by preparing to carry out the dirty work of his administration's crackdown on immigrants, including physical repression.

Mexico's peso weakened more than 1.5 percent against the dollar on Thursday, partly driven by Trump's comments, analysts said.

As the marchers, many of them mothers with young children, moved northwest en route to the United States, they chanted and waved Honduran flags and greeted onlookers, who delivered donations of food and water.

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But as Trump said at a rally on Thursday that the midterm elections would hinge in part on the caravan, it was clear that us pressure on Mexico to stem the tide of the migrants would continue.

On Wednesday, an advance group of exhausted migrants reached Guatemala City where they took refuge in a church-sponsored shelter.

They blame the Trump administration for backing the Honduran government, and accuse the U.S. president of scapegoating migrants and refugees.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepared to travel later in the day to Panama and then Mexico City, where he was to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. "So, I think we need to set up an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course at the border and whoever can make it - you can't fake it - they get through".

Their objective now is to regroup and press on towards the border with Mexico.

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

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"We are here because of Juan Orlando, " said migrant Nelson Zavala, 36, adding that the last three days had essentially been sleepless ones. But trade attorney Daniel Ujczo of Dickinson Wright PLLC said there "is a significant concern" that Trump will hold the pact hostage "in any number of issues that will arise between the US and Mexico as well as the USA and Canada".

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