Trump threatens to close southern USA border over caravan of migrants

Mexico sends federal forces to its southern border as migrant caravan heads north

Mexico sends federal forces to its southern border as migrant caravan heads north

The Honduran migrants, trekking in a caravan toward Mexico's southern border, say they're headed for the United States in an effort to flee violence and search for economic opportunity.

As some 3,000 Hondurans made their way through Guatemala, attention - and pressure - turned to Mexico, after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to close the U.S. -Mexico border if authorities there fail to stop them - a almost unthinkable move that would disrupt hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings each day.

The caravan arrived at the border in southern Mexico on Thursday but turned around Friday, the Associated Press reported.

"The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement]", Trump wrote. Early Thursday, he threatened to close the US border if Mexico let the migrants advance.

Even by those standards his Thursday morning tweet storm - coming less than three weeks from midterm legislative elections where the Democrats may take the lower house from Trump's Republicans - was especially fierce.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that illegal migration across the US-Mexican border is near crisis levels, as a caravan of Honduran migrants prepared to enter Mexico bound for the United States.

Trump did not detail his military threat.

As the sun rose, a military helicopter could be seen overhead, foreshadowing the difficulties that migrants will have as they try to reach the U.S.

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

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The foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, asked the United Nations to assist with what could be a crush of requests.

Several thousand Honduran migrants moved this week through Guatemala, and some were trying to cross to Mexico on Thursday, local media said.

In April, Mexican immigration officials had some success in dispersing the smaller caravan by processing many who chose to seek refugee status in Mexico, but some did continue on to the USA border where they were processed over several days.

Pompeo is now expected to travel to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, where the two will reportedly discuss potential solutions to the migrant crisis, narcotics and terrorism. 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.

On Wednesday, an advance group of exhausted migrants reached Guatemala City where they took refuge in a church-sponsored shelter.

Despite the show of force, senior Mexican government officials say they won't use force against migrants.

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

And the president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has pledged to issue work visas for Central Americans in a bid to retain workers in the area rather than seeing them moving to the US.

"And we need to call it what it is", Gutierrez said. "But it becomes much harder when President Trump makes this a political issue in which he bashes Mexico".

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