Migrant caravan arrives in Mexico City

Central American migrants line up to borrow a sleeping pad at a temporary shelter in a stadium in Mexico City the latest stop in their trek to the US border

Thousands of Central American migrants headed towards Mexico City on Monday after three weeks of walking, pleading for rides and depending on the solidarity of Mexicans of modest means. Her calf muscles were aching, but that was a small price to pay for the chance at a life better than the one back home.

Nielson went on to stress that DHS is taking the migrant threat "very seriously" - starting by setting out to identify the origins of caravans as they edge closer to the USA through Mexico.

The 5,000 number is not even half of the 12,000 Central American migrants now traveling in four caravans inside Mexico on Tuesday.

"We're not criminals. We're hard-working people", said 25-year-old Honduran Eber Josue.

But he later reneged on the promise, claiming Mexico City was unprepared to receive so many migrants due to water service cuts - something denied by city officials.

How long the caravan stays in Mexico City remains uncertain.

Walkiria Viamney, 19, said she and her husband have relatives in Tijuana and California who have promised to help them cross into the United States.

At a toll booth near Fortin, Veracruz, Rafael Leyva, an unemployed cobbler from Honduras, stood with a few hundred others for more than 45 minutes without finding a ride.

He said groups have warned migrants not to climb into unknown trucks.

In the town of Veracruz on Sunday, the Fox News crew traveling with the caravan observed two nuns stopping big rigs in order to fill the trailers with waiting migrants. Such impromptu hitchhiking is precarious, with dozens scrambling onto vehicles at a time.

"I've been here for three days already, and I'm already rested". But he couldn't lift his friend and the chair onto a truck bed crammed with 150 people.

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The aid workers explained that the asylum process in the USA could take years, with no guarantee of approval.

The presidents of Guatemala and Honduras are calling for an investigation to identify the organizers of a caravan of migrants who are nearing the Mexican capital on a journey they hope will take them to the United States. That caravan steadily dwindled to only about 200 people by the time it reached the border.

Other migrants who had moved out ahead of the main body rested at a church in Puebla, a city roughly midway between Cordoba and Mexico City.

Mexico faces the unprecedented situation of having at least three migrant caravans stretched over 300 miles (500 kilometers) of highway in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

"The most recent caravan crossed illegally into Mexico through the Suchiate River, turning down an offer from Mexican authorities to be given shelter if they entered legally and telling them they only want clear passage to the USA - not to stay in Mexico", TheBlaze's Aaron Colen informed.

Mexico's Interior Ministry estimated over the weekend that there are more than 5,000 migrants in total now moving through Mexico.

Immigration experts say it is highly unlikely they are traveling together with the goal of storming the USA border - they are more likely to file individual asylum claims or try to sneak across in small groups.

"Mexico's Interior Ministry estimated over the weekend that there are more than 5,000 migrants in total now moving through Mexico", but "2,793 migrants have applied for refugee status in Mexico in recent weeks and around 500 have asked for assistance to return to their home countries".

Rina Valenzuela wore one of the yellow bracelets as she sat attentively listening to aid workers from the nonprofit Institute for Women in Migration explain the difficulties of applying for and securing asylum in the U.S. Valenzuela, who is from El Salvador, decided she's better off applying for refuge in Mexico.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Monday that thousands of his countrymen have returned to Honduras.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales went further, calling for an investigation of people who "promote or participate" in the caravan, saying those people "should be judged based on worldwide laws".

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