Thousands of migrants reach Mexico border

Geraldine Edwards
October 20, 2018

President Donald Trump threatened to use the military to close the border with Mexico in an attempt to block a migrant caravan from trying to enter the U.S.

The caravan quickly grabbed the attention of world leaders as word of its formation spread over the weekend.

The Guatemalan government branded the caravan "illegal".

Some hung out their wet clothes to dry on railings and tree branches, while looked for a way to exchange their Guatemalan quetzales for Mexican pesos. Hundreds of federal police officers and immigration officers have been sent to the porous border region along the Suchiate River which divides the two neighbours.

Mexico's main reaction has been to step up security on its southern border with Guatemala.

A bridge over the river marks an official crossing point.

"In other words before they make the trek across Mexico?" Those who do so will be held "at a migratory station" for up to 45 business days.

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While some troops are helping with surveillance, majority are working to maintain Border Patrol vehicles or performing administrative tasks to free up Border Patrol agents to perform law enforcement work, a defense official said Thursday.

He also threatened to mobilize the USA military and shut down the southern border to stop those migrants from entering the US, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid. Before dawn Friday, the migrants chose to wait a few more hours for stragglers to arrive. A complicated mix of pressures are weighing on Mexican officials as they decide how to handle the matter.

Beyond that, this situation catches Mexico at a odd time.

In his string of tweets, Mr Trump also said the migrant issue was more important to him than the new trade deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement pact. The president announced plans in April to send thousands of National Guard troops to the border, where they could remain until his promised wall is constructed.

Trump also said that if a solution is not found, it could upend the new trade deal negotiated between Mexico and the United States.

The U.S. president has made it clear to Mexico that he is monitoring its response.

Earlier Friday, Mexico's ambassador to Guatemala said his country meant to enforce what he called a policy of orderly entry in the face of the thousands trying to cross.

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On Friday, Scalise, who survived a politically-motivated shooting in 2017, said "it's obvious" Trump was not "encouraging his supporters to engage in attacks" during his Thursday night rally.

His comments came as it was reported some 2,000 people had fled Honduras and were making their way north to try and get into the US.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has partnered with the United States in the past on immigration-related issues.

Mexico has implemented what the ambassador to Guatemala calls a "metered entry" system to try to control the vast numbers of people who are traveling there from other Central American countries.

"We are going to the United States!" he shouted euphorically.

Trump spoke with the incoming Mexican president earlier this month and claimed that "we will work well together".

"Only God on high can stop us", Escobar said.

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However, his incoming Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said those without a visa would have to apply for refugee status. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling it a "moment of crisis".

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