Trump threatens to send troops to border to stop migrant caravan

Here’s what happened to the size of the Honduran migrant caravan after Trump’s threat

Numerous more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States are finding help from sympathetic Guatemalans even as local governments and U.S. President Donald Trump are trying to discourage them.

Trump tweeted on Thursday, adding that he blamed Democrats for what he called "weak laws!"

"I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" the president threatened, if Mexico does not heed his request to stop what he termed an "onslaught" of people crossing the border into the U.S.

Hundreds of Honduran migrants stand at the shore of the Suchiate river on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. It raises the specter of martial law and violates the democratic principle of posse comitatus, which bars the military from carrying out law enforcement activities within the country.

Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran congressman, was arrested hours after Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!"

Fox News reported on Thursday that Mexico and the United States had reached a deal on how to handle the migrant caravan.

Typically, when a person manages to sneak into the United States through Mexico - regardless of whether they were from Mexico or some point farther south - they're detained and housed in the United States until their case is decided.

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

The Mexican ambassador to the U.S., Geronimo Gutierrez, said Mexico has asked the United Nations to help Mexico review asylum claims from members of the caravan.

Immigration advocates and experts on global refugee law say that providing transit documents to those in search of protection would be the reasonable and humane response.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray insisted Mexico would not cave to pressure to detain the migrants, vowing to respect their human rights and urging the Trump administration to address the root causes of their northward flight: violent crime and poverty.

The group, consisting mostly of Honduran migrants, is making its way through Guatemala and hopes to continue northward through Mexico.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Mexico on Friday for a meeting with the country's top officials, where the caravan will likely be among the topics of discussion.

"If we don't get across, we're going to try the same thing again", said Gustavo Perez, a Honduran builder speaking at a shelter in Guatemala City. "Great Midterm issue for Republicans!".

She said it started as a group of 1,600 and quickly grew to 4,000 as the media fed into a narrative that those who refuse to welcome the migrants "are cruel, horrible, rotten people".

Their objective now is to regroup and press on towards the border with Mexico.

That's a tiny portion of the nearly 1,350 miles (2,170 kilometers) they'd have to travel to reach the closest US border. In April, thousands of National Guard troops were deployed to the southern border to assist with security operations there, although their assistance was limited to surveillance work.

"We're looking for concrete results", the State Department said before Pompeo's trip, "and for solutions that work for both countries". "But it becomes much harder when President Trump makes this a political issue in which he bashes Mexico".



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