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US-bound migrant caravan swells to 3,000; currently at Mexico’s southern border

Migrants from Honduras march in a caravan. (Morena Perez Joachin/DPA/Zuma Press/TNS)
January 21, 2020

A U.S. bound migrant caravan that originated in Honduras has already crossed through Guatemala and its members are looking for a way into Mexico this week.

The caravan consisted of only about 1,000 people when it began to form last week, but the caravan has since swelled in size to around 3,000 people, according to Bloomberg News.

The caravan participants were stopped at the Rodolfo Robles bridge crossing outside of Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas on Mexico’s southern border. According to Mexico News Daily, those caravaners were stopped by a metal barrier on the Mexican side of the bridge. Some 60 members of the Mexican National Guard, dressed in riot gear, also worked to turn back members of the caravan.

Many members of the caravan reportedly sat down on the bridge and indicated they would not leave until Mexican authorities let them through.

“We just want them to let us cross, we’re not going to cause problems,” said one migrant identified only as José Antonio. “We’re trying in the proper way, we don’t want to [cross illegally].”

Elsewhere, hundreds of other caravaners reportedly waded across a shallow river under the bridge and were pictured on Monday, confronting Mexican National Guard members and throwing objects.

Mexico’s work to stop the flow of migrants through its country and into the U.S. may test the strength of Mexico’s cooperation with U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands to stop the flow of migrants into the U.S.

Last year, Trump issued threats of tariffs on Mexico if it did not help stop the migrant crossings. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador subsequently deployed thousands of National Guard troops to Mexico’s southern and northern borders to help bring down the number of migrant crossings.

Lopez Obrador reportedly offered jobs in Mexico for the caravan members on Friday. He said, “We have more than 4,000 jobs available at the southern border.”

Some 1,887 members of the caravan reportedly accepted the offer and were subsequently brought to Mexican immigration centers to be processed in.

Immigrant rights groups warned that the offer may have just been a means to easily round up some of the migrants and transfer them back to their country of origin.

The Mexican government said in a statement that it would review immigration cases with its immigration laws however it would return many of the migrants to their home countries.

“In most cases and once the particular immigration status has been reviewed, assisted return will be made to their countries of origin in case the situation warrants,” a translation of the Mexican statement read.