Published: Sun, October 21, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Trump puts migrant caravan at centre of midterm elections

Trump puts migrant caravan at centre of midterm elections

Trump said that Democrats are "openly inviting" illegals to pour across the border into the United States.

His assertions got a visual boost Friday when some members of the caravan broke through a Guatemalan border barrier with Mexico.

The leaders said an estimated 5,400 migrants had entered Guatemala since the caravan was announced a week ago, and about 2,000 Hondurans have returned voluntarily.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday with Pena Nieto and Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray in Mexico City, with the caravan high on the agenda.

"They're not coming into this country", Trump added, according to AP reports.

This appears to be a shift from previous policies, in which humanitarian or transit visas were issued, and migrants were given the option of continuing their journey north if they didn't want to seek asylum in Mexico.

The women and children are part of a group of thousands of Honduran migrants on the Mexican border with Guatemala hoping to reach the United States. In 2009, the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instigated a coup d'état against the country's elected president, Manuel Zelaya, initiating a reign of terror that continues to this day.

"It's a very hard situation for the Mexican government", says Ana Maria Salazar, a former Pentagon official who's now a security analyst in Mexico City.

The migrant caravan, comprised mostly of workers and peasants, has galvanized broad popular support across Central America and Mexico.

Hundreds of people in a caravan of migrants and refugees that crossed from Honduras into Guatemala staged a dramatic bid to breach the Mexican border on Friday, as local governments began preparing to disperse the convoy under pressure from Washington.

Military officials instructed troops to alert border agents if they encountered migrants, rather than intervene themselves except in cases of self defence.

But along the Mexico-Guatemala border, it was clear Saturday that stopping the caravan would require both resources and will that, so far, have been lacking.

"Republicans are fear-mongering about a migrant caravan to boost midterm turnout" said a Salon headline, while CNN noted, "Mother in caravan: Trump has to receive us".

Hector Aguilar, a 49-year-old sales manager who worked as a taxi driver in Honduras' Yoro province to feed his four children, said he had to pay the two main gangs there protection money in order to work. A recent Pew Research Center survey found a majority of Democratic voters - 57 percent - think the treatment of immigrants in the country illegally is a very big problem in the US, compared with just 15 percent of Republican voters who say the same.

Flores has three children and says that he sometimes skips meals to ensure that they eat. Vox declared that "Trump's "caravan" tantrum could put migrants in danger".

The statement comes after a heated tirade on Twitter in which the United States president blasted the Democrats for being at the helm of "assault" on the US' borders and threatening to call up the military and shut down the country's southern border. They left their homes without telling their families, without packing their bags, without informing their bosses that they wouldn't be returning to work.

It is notably different from the "Migrant Viacrucis" organized in April every year by NGOs to draw attention to the plight of Central American migrants. The agency had set up a small checkpoint north of the city, where officials checked some of the vehicles heading north, roughly 2,500 miles from the USA border.

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