Trump makes migrant caravan key battleground in midterms

Trump threatens to 'close border' over Central America caravan

Hundreds of Honduran migrants broke through a Guatemalan border barrier and forced their way onto Mexican territory Friday, as riot police tried to keep them from advancing past a border bridge and continuing their trek toward the US.

On Thursday, the Mexican government asked the United Nations Refugee Agency for help in assisting migrants filing for refugee protection at the border, as Mr. Trump threatened to deploy the USA military and close the southern US border with Mexico if it doesn't stop what he described as an "onslaught" of migrants. Before dawn Friday, the migrants chose to wait a few more hours for stragglers to arrive.

The group of Salvadoreans, Hondurans and Guatemalans say they are fleeing violence and poverty.

Mr Trump has previously threatened to cut Honduran aid. This is an worldwide problem that we have.

Per NBC News, Mexico dispatched an additional 500 federal police to the border with Guatemala ahead of the migrants' arrival.

Donald Trump was elected after promising to get tough on immigration and build a wall along the border with Mexico.

"It's a situation that is nearly impossible to resolve at this time for Mexico", Salazar told CNN en Español Thursday.

To put that in context, in the early 2000s the authorities were arresting 1.5 million undocumented immigrants a year, while in 2018 so far there have been under 400,000 people detained.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona earlier this month began releasing hundreds of people to await court dates, saying it did not have the capacity to hold an "incredibly high volume" of migrant families showing up at the border. However, this one, coming as it does so close to the USA mid-term elections in November, has taken on a highly political dimension, to that point that President Trump has threatened to use the military and close the U.S. southern border.

Why does it concern Trump?

President Trump said he would make illegal immigration a focus of the final stretch of the midterm election campaign as a group of up to 3,000 asylum seekers from Honduras approached the Mexican border. It was at that time that President Trump deployed National Guard troops along the border and threatened to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

The President is blaming the Democrats, this time around, for encouraging the caravans.

Where is the caravan now?

Early Thursday, he threatened to close the US border if Mexico let the migrants advance.

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The caravan has been growing steadily since it left the violent Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Saturday.

In Guatemala City, where migrant shelters filled with people, waves of people departed at daybreak on roads leading to Mexico. Migrants continued to hang on the gates, yelling "there are children here" and "we are hungry". They're also a cheaper alternative to the $7,000 to $10,000 that smugglers, charge for passage to the border, Leutert noted.

And according to worldwide law, the USA can not deport asylum seekers without first determining the validity of their claim.

But as Trump said at a rally on Thursday that the midterm elections would hinge in part on the caravan, it was clear that us pressure on Mexico to stem the tide of the migrants would continue.

The Mexican government has sought assistance from the United Nations refugee agency to help process migrants claiming refugee status at the southern border, a step that could allow it to disperse the train of people and placate Trump.

But the caravan is just the most visible face of ongoing migration, which happens regularly with less public work with smugglers.

"A caravan of Central American migrants is making its way north", Judicial Watch warned in a statement Friday.

Human rights groups have criticised the U.S. and Mexican response to the caravan.

Trump has already seen some progress with his threat to end foreign aid.

However, although President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he is confident that agreement with the U.S. can be reached, the Mexican government has denied that a deal has been done.

"We will offer jobs, work to Central Americans".

However, his incoming Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said those without a visa would have to apply for refugee status.

The thousands of Hondurans are making their way through Guatemala, headed toward Mexico and, if they're allowed through, plan to head onward to the USA, as the contentious midterm elections approach November 6.

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