Caravan of migrants grows ahead of push to US border


Trump said Monday that he will cut USA aid to the three Central American countries that are home to most of the migrants who cross the southern border - El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Mattis is responding to a request from President Donald Trump, who says he's "bringing out the military" to address what he's calling a national emergency at the border.

Thousands of men, women and children, mostly from Honduras, shuffled throughout the afternoon into the town of Mapastepec in Chiapas state, still more than 1,770 kilometres (1,100 miles) from the USA border. There are no bathrooms there, and little donated food. Authorities there reckon that numerous 7,000 have dropped off, and that the caravan now numbers between 4,000 and 5,000 people. "So this is an opportunity to improve my family's life", said Elsa Romero, a Guatemalan mother of four in Huixtla. Trump said "there could very well be", adding, "I have very good information". The official said this is already being done to some extent, and described this as a more official process of what is known as "metering", when Customs and Border Protection officers keep immigrants in Mexico to limit the flow into the US. Some media have put the number above 2,000.

Trump had claimed in a tweet Monday that "Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners" were mixed in with the migrants fleeing violence or poverty.

Migrants from Central America play football in the migrant shelter in Tenosique.

Large groups increase migrants' chance of safe passage, and they provide some sense of community and solidarity on the journey, as migrants themselves report.

That caravan has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, who has blamed Democrats, without evidence, for pushing for overrun borders in an apparent fear campaign aimed at boosting turnout in the November 6 midterm elections.

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Federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the USA unless specifically authorized by Congress.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, posted on Twitter on Tuesday that there was a "need to look at political motives behind the caravan".

"Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally".

Honduran authorities say that at least two men have died so far on Mexican roads during the advance of the caravan.

"However, after attempts to prevent the caravan from entering Mexico on Sunday proved futile, the migrants have walked and/or traveled on the back of trucks or in other vehicles through Chiapas unimpeded", the news outlet repeated.

Despite raising Trump's ire, thousands of Central American men, women and children seeking to escape violence, poverty and government corruption in their home countries continued their journey toward the distant USA border. But if the thousands of migrants reach the US border, a new world of problems could await them.

Top immigration officials and close Trump advisers are still evaluating the options in closed-door meetings that have gotten increasingly heated in the past week, including one that turned into a shouting match as the caravan of about 7,000 people pushes north, according to administration officials and others with knowledge of the issue.