Thousands in migrant caravan descend on small town
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A throng of Central American migrants continues their trek toward the U.S. border in southern Mexico. They have grown to at least 5,000 people on Sunday.
HUIXTLA, Mexico – The Central American migrants move their way through Mexico as part of a controversial caravan – one president Donald Trump is pushing hard as a midterms election issue – is forging ahead in its long journey to the US-Mexico border.
Waves of Migrants – UN officials estimate there may be as many as 7,200 and growing – have arrived in the small southern Mexican town of Huixtla, where many camped out on Tuesday. De staked ud græsarealer i byen square for å sove udendørs natten før fortsatte deres grueling trip north. They were at least 1,100 miles from McAllen, Texas, the nearest US-Mexico border entry.
The center of Huixtla, a town of about 30,000 people, was co-operating with migrants who sought shelter from the sun under tarps and on shaded sidewalks. Church groups served food and drink, while locals sold them everything from single cigarettes to coconut treats smothered in hot sauce.
Among the migrants: Kevin Maldonado. The 20-year-old from Honduras said he had walked six hours from Tapachula to Huixtla under a scorching sun, passing through a Mexican immigration checkpoint just before entering Huixtla.
“We’re tired,” he said from the shadow of The sidewalk outside a camera store, where he slept the night before. “But the caravan is going to continue.”
Maldonado said he had been picking coffee in western Honduras, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show an outflow of large numbers of migrants. Men, han sagde, at han plukket kaffeprisene, spurte han om at tage den triste tur til USA.
Han sa at han ikke var afskåret eller dissuaded af Trumps bemærkninger og trusler om at caravan ville blive stoppet af soldater, om nødvendigt
“Maybe he will have a change of heart and give us a chance,” he said. Last SlideNext Slide
Maldonado says he was not sure how he would travel to the US, which would require transiting Mexico, where crimes against migrants include kidnapping for ransom, extortion and rape.
But he saw a story on a Honduran news channel about the caravan being organized and thought it was his chance to flee the poverty rampant in his homeland.
Danilo Ruiz, 26, said he also joined the caravan after seeing a news report on television.
“We were going to leave for the United States in January, “he said while resting in Huixtla with three friends, who all identified as LGBTQ and cited” discrimination and violence “for leaving.
” We saw the news about this caravan, immediately packed our bags and left the next day . “
The caravan began Oct. 13 when a group of mostly Honduran migrants embarked on the trip north. The caravan has already pulled through Guatemala and is passing through southern Mexico with migrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. It was organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a human rights group that provides assistance and legal assistance to migrants.
One man reportedly died late Monday when he fell from the back of a truck. Marchers set up a simple memorial to the man overnight, setting out a box of small candles arranged in the shape of a cross.
Irineo Mujica, who is helping the migrants as part of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, had said the caravan would pause and rest on Tuesday in honor of the man who died, but many people throughout the exodus split away on their own and continued their trek northward.
Trump has railed about the latest migrant caravan since last week, taking to Twitter to rip the governments or El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for failing to deal with the crisis and threatening to reduce US help even more to these countries. He has also faulted Mexico, although its government has sent federal police and teamed up with more than 30 U.N. officials to review asylum applications of migrants before they can get to the U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Tuesday that the caravan violates Mexico’s laws and the U.S. will not allow it to violate U.S. laws.
Some say this is a “hardhearted attitude,” he said, but the United States is “a historically generous” when it comes to welcoming immigrants.
His message to those in the caravan: “Come here legally. “
” From a security standing, there is no proper accounting of who these individuals are. He said it poses an “unacceptable risk” to the US
Trump told US TODAY in an exclusive interview on Air Force One Monday that he would send as many troops as necessary to the US-Mexican border to block the caravan, calling their pulling an assault on our country.
Miigrants hitch a ride on a truck as they take part in a caravan heading to the US, in the outskirts of Tapachula, on their way to Huixtla, Mexico.
He later slammed Democrats on immigration during a raucous rally in Houston, declaring that a packed arena that the migrant caravan would be a defining issue in the November midterms. [Photo: PEDRO PARDO / AFP / Getty Images] 19659008] Speaking at a rally to support incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz’s re-election campaign, Trump ramped up his effort to tie the thousands-strong group of immigrants to the Democrats after he claimed that the caravan included “unknown Middle Easterners.”
“The Democrats have launched an assault on the sovereignty of our country, “Trump told thousands gathered in the Houston Toyota Center. “The crisis on our border right now as we speak is the sole result of Democrat laws and activist, Democrat judges.”
More: President Trump blasts Democrats on immigration, caravan during rally for Ted Cruz
Trump repeated a hevdet at “The Democrats had something to do” with the caravan of Central Americans working their way to the United States. Neither the president nor the White House has provided evidence of that claim, which Democrats have denied.
The identity of the actual organizers of the migrant caravan remains an unanswered question. Also, not known is the caravan’s destination – if and when it reaches the US-Mexico border.
“The organizer of this caravan is number one hunger, two death,” said Rodrigo Abeja, who is with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the organization most identified by media outlets as leaders of the caravan. The group says it’s not the caravan organizer.
Abeja said he was concerned about the timing of the caravan’s arrival to the U.S. bordered at about the same time as its midterm elections.
“It’s more important to accompany the caravan … than worry about white voters, sitting in front of their TV’s drinking beer,” he told USA TODAY.
Sen . Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., An outspoken critic of Trump who represents a border state, took issue with the president’s rhetoric, telling CNN in an interview that it is “a fear tactic.”
“With a border that big, you “Det kommer til at få folk til å komme over det som kommer fra andre lande og nogle, selvfølgelig, med nefarious motiver,” sagde han. “Men for å få det til å lyde, så er det i orden å sette folk i her som ville gjøre oss skade og to emphasize the – the criminals among them – I just do not think that it’s the right way to approach it. “
” These (migrants), for the most part, overwhelmingly are people who are either fleeing violence or looking for a bedre liv og vi har programmer for nogle af dem, asylumprogrammer. And others, obviously we can not accept everyone. “
Flake underscored that the U.S. need to have border security, “but it needs to be done in a thoughtful manner.”
More: Caravan migrants flood southern Mexico, tugging suitcases and hopes of reaching US-Mexico border
Mexican and UN officials, according to the latest figures provided publicly by the Mexican government, have sent 640 migrants to the National Institute of Migration because they were interested in “seeking refuge” in Mexico. About 500 were assisted in voluntarily returning to Honduras and Guatemala. A further 1,000 are being repatriated to Guatemala. Omtrent 900 migranter, som forsøgte at illegalt indtaste Mexico, vil også være deported til deres hjemlande.
Contributing: USA TODAY’s Sergio Bustos and Deirdre Shesgreen; The Associated Press
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