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Border Patrol says record number of crossings in September

26 Octobre 2018

As a caravan of Central American migrants continues its arduous trek toward the U.S., President Donald Trump reiterated Thursday the military would be used to prevent its entry into the U.S. from the southern border.

Four days after crossing into Mexico, the caravan is more than 1,860 miles (3,000 km) from the U.S. border.

While such caravans have occurred semi-regularly over the years, this one has become a hot topic ahead of the November 6 midterm elections in the USA, and an immigrant rights activist traveling with the group accused Trump of using it to stir up his Republican base.

Alex Mensing of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group that organised a previous migrant caravan that angered Trump in April, said on Wednesday the current caravan is comprised of about 10,000 people.

The "caravan" is a group of Honduran migrants - men, women, children and families - fleeing their home country because of rampant violence and poverty.

The issue has become a rallying cry for the U.S. president, who has taken a hard line on illegal immigration and has repeatedly kept the story in the headlines in the run up to America's mid-term Congressional elections that could see the Democrats regain some degree of power.

The number fluctuates greatly from year to year, however, and border crossings were down from 408,870 in fiscal 2016, the last year of Barack Obama's presidency.

Such caravans have taken place regularly, if on a smaller scale, over the years, but U.S. President Donald Trump has seized on the phenomenon this year and made it a rallying call for his Republican base ahead of the November 6 midterm elections.

Espinosa said there is no work in Honduras and "that's why we chose to come here, to give a better future for our children".

The administration officials asked not to be identified discussing the issue.

A smaller caravan earlier this year headed for the distant Tijuana-San Diego crossing, dissipating as it advanced. But activists accused the country of violating the migrants' rights by detaining anyone who tried to apply for asylum. Officials say almost 1,700 migrants have already dropped out and applied for asylum in Mexico.

Parents who have remained in the caravan say they are doing so for their children's futures, and out of fear of the potential dangers that would await them upon return to gang-dominated Honduras.

Some were picked up by fellow migrants on makeshift rafts while others swam across the Suchiate river, which marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico.

On Sunday, some 200 Mexican riot police arranged a blockade, seeking to block the caravan's path to the city of Tapachula, only to pack up and leave just a few minutes later.

He said in another tweet "citizens of countries outside Central America, including countries in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere are now traveling through Mexico toward the U.S".

Two migrants have been killed when they fell off vehicles that let them hitch a ride, according to authorities in Mexico and Guatemala.

UNHCR would like to remind countries along this route that this caravan is likely to include people in real danger.

Humanitarian organizations estimate that one-fourth of the caravan's members are children, a representative of Save the Children told AFP. I'm not doing this because I want to.

"We didn't know what lay ahead", said Torres.

Two Hondurans have died so far, both falling off trucks - one on Saturday, and one on Monday.

Border Patrol says record number of crossings in September