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Caravan inches closer to border as many reject Mexican asylum

29 Octobre 2018

United States president Donald Trump has spoken angrily about the migrant caravan.

The over 1,000 Central Americans comprised mostly of Hondurans, Salvadorans and some Guatemalans made their way to Mexico last week after the group had swollen to thousands.

The Trump administration earlier this year responded to the 20-day limit on detention of children by placing them in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) while bringing criminal charges against the parents or those claiming to be parents. "They [migrants] will be stopped!" he said in a tweet.

The second caravan, numbering 200 to 300, was much smaller than the major US -bound caravan and was stopped Friday shortly after setting off on a highway just north of the Mexico-Guatemala border. Many said the fear of returning to a violent homeland loomed larger than the president's threats. Because the country is doing so well, it's so successful that everybody wants to come here. "They ought to go back now because we're not".

The caravan, which is moving through Chiapas on the border of Guatemala, has enabled Trump to campaign hard on illegal immigration ahead of the midterm congressional elections on 6 November, in which Republicans are battling to keep control of Congress.

The reports offered few details.

"We are looking at every possible way within the legal construct that we have to make sure that those who don't have legal right to come to this country do not come in", Nielsen said.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Thursday evening that the migrant caravan headed towards the United States "will not be allowed in", and that they "should be seeking refuge in Mexico".

Federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the US unless specifically authorized by Congress. "Those in the migrant caravan are not gang members or terrorists, in fact many have family members in the United States who are citizens", the network said in its statement.

In a Thursday afternoon tweet, Trump told migrants that the USA is "not letting people into the United States illegally" and advised them to go back to their own countries and "apply for citizenship like millions of others" have done.

Sitting at the edge of the town square in Arriaga, 58-year-old Oscar Sosa of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, said: "Our goal is not to remain in Mexico". Mexican officials broke up a second, smaller group of 200 to 300, arresting more than 100 for deportation. "Many of the migrants have depended on hitchhiking to move between towns rather than walking the entire way". Many are fleeing violence, poverty and government corruption in their home countries.

"No, I just think we'd have to work through that".

"Some days there is work, some days there is not", he told Al Jazeera, adding that his hope is to find a job in order to provide for his young family - whether that is in the USA or in Mexico.

Trump campaigned on a promise to build a "big, handsome wall", which he specifically said would not be a fence.

The National Guard is often used by states to help with border security.

Adam Isacson, an official at the Washington Office on Latin America, a group that advocates for migrant rights, expressed misgivings about the potential deployment.

"Our destiny is to get to the border", she said.

Caravan inches closer to border as many reject Mexican asylum