Migrant convoy swells to 5000, heads to US
A growing throng of Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border in southern Mexico on Sunday, overwhelming Mexican government attempts to stop them at the border.
Their numbers swelled to about 5,000 overnight and at first light they set out walking toward the Mexican town of Tapachula, 10 abreast in a line stretching approximately 1.5kms.
Several hundred more already had applied for refugee status in Mexico and an estimated 1500 were still on the Guatemalan side of the Suchiate River, hoping to enter legally.
It was not immediately clear where the additional travellers had materialised from since about 2,000 had been gathered on the Mexican side Saturday night.
But people have been joining and leaving the caravan daily, some moving at their own pace and strung out in a series of columns as they moved across Guatemala.
They marched on through Mexico like a ragtag army of the poor, shouting triumphantly slogans like “Si se pudo!” or “Yes, we could!”
As they passed through Mexican villages on the outskirts of Ciudad Hidalgo, they drew applause, cheers and donations of food and clothing from Mexicans.
Maria Teresa Orellana, a resident of the neighbourhood of Lorenzo handed out free sandals to the migrants as they passed.
“It’s solidarity,” she said. “They’re our brothers.”
The migrants, who said they gave up trying to enter Mexico legally because the asylum application process was too slow and most want to continue to the U.S., gathered Saturday at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo.
They voted by a show of hands to continue north en masse, then marched to the bridge crossing the Suchiate River and urged those still on it to come join them.
The caravan elicited a series of angry tweets and warnings from Trump early in the week, but Mexico’s initial handling of the migrants at its southern border seemed to have satisfied him more recently.
“So as of this moment, I thank Mexico,” Trump said Friday at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona. “I hope they continue. But as of this moment, I thank Mexico. If that doesn’t work out, we’re calling up the military — not the Guard.”
“They’re not coming into this country,” Trump added.