Caravan at Mexico-Guatemala border shrinks as migrants mass on bridge

Anti-government protesters participate in a march in Guatemala City Guatemala

With less than three weeks before the November 6 midterm elections, Trump seized on the migrant caravan to make border security a political issue and energize his Republican base.

He also threatened to send in the U.S. military to "CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" and keep out "MANY CRIMINALS" among the migrants. But Mexico has also been keen to show Trump it is working to slow the stream of migrants. During a presidential debate, Lopez Obrador indicated his administration would stop doing "dirty work" for the United States by detaining Central American migrants.

Could Trump close the US-Mexican border?

Thousands of migrants traveling in a caravan briefly moved toward a border crossing on the Mexico-Guatemala frontier before turning around.

Mexican officials have said that those without papers would have to apply for refugee status or turn back.

The Mexican government has said any migrant who decides to cross illegally will be detained and deported.

President Trump has threatened retaliation if a migrant carvan continues north from this point toward the United States. Ebrard said in a local radio interview that Trump's comments were "predictable".

Trump's stance, he said, was "what he has always presented", adding he saw "nothing surprising in it".

The caravan of thousands started as 160 people nine days ago but its numbers have swelled as more have joined in an attempt to leave poverty and violence behind them.

"The president certainly can slow down crossing at legal border crossings where about a million people cross each day. They're not coming into this country", he said. "The examples are many globally, but the best model is Israel where a serious, high-tech border barricade on its southern border with Egypt and Gaza cut illegal crossings by 99 percent over five years".

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Mexico's government vowed on Friday to meet the challenge of a caravan of Central American migrants heading north, after U.S. Trump spoke with the incoming Mexican president earlier this month and claimed that "we will work well together".

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"It's a challenge that Mexico is facing, and that's how I expressed it to Secretary Pompeo", Mr. Videgaray told a news conference alongside his US counterpart.

With a homicide rate of 43 per 100,000 citizens, Honduras is one of the most violent countries in the world.

"Whoever wants to work in our country is going to have support, is going to have a work visa", he said. He says it's painful for him to leave his country but he did it "out of necessity".

By Thursday, the caravan had dispersed a bit, with the youngest and strongest of the migrants walking ahead together, some boarding buses or trying to hitch rides.

"Open please!" one woman said through tears at the final barrier, carrying a baby in her arms. "Nobody is going to stop us!"

His threats have kept pace with the migrants' journey.

A caravan of Central Americans that formed in southern Mexico in late March also drew the ire of Mr. Trump, who on Thursday threatened to deploy the military and close the southern USA border if Mexico did not halt the latest procession.

If Trump pulls out of the trade deal or closes the border, there would be major economic implications for both countries. Immigration officials said later in a statement that Mujica, who has dual U.S.

Pompeo is headed to meetings inMexico City with a message for leaders there about the massive caravan of migrants: Stop them before they reach the USA border.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona earlier this month began releasing hundreds of people to await court dates, saying it didn't have the capacity to hold an "incredibly high volume" of migrant families showing up at the border.

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