Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Pressure turns to Mexico as migrant caravan heads for border

Published:Friday | October 19, 2018 | 9:57 AM
Honduran migrants leave Guatemala City at sunrise Thursday, October 18, 2018 as they make continue their way north toward the U.S. Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — As some 3,000 Hondurans made their way through Guatemala, attention turned to Mexico, after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to close the U.S.-Mexico border if authorities there fail to stop them — a nearly unthinkable move that would disrupt hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings each day.

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

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” Trump tweeted, adding that he blamed Democrats for what he called “weak laws!”

The threat followed another one earlier this week to cut off aid to Central American countries if the migrants weren’t stopped.

Trump made a similar vow over another large migrant caravan in April but didn’t follow through and it largely petered out in Mexico.

On Thursday, Mexico’s foreign ministry said the government was assisting members of the caravan who had already crossed into Mexican territory.

It was explaining the options to migrants and helping those who chose to apply for refugee status to navigate the lengthy process.

Mexico had also dispatched additional police to its southern border after the Casa del Migrante shelter on the Guatemalan side of the border reported that hundreds of Hondurans had already arrived there.

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