TECUN UMAN (Reuters) – Hundreds of Central Americans gathered on the border between Guatemala and Mexico on Sunday, with the goal of crossing mass early on Monday in what could be a hard test of the Mexican government’s promise to meet the demands of United States to stop migrant flows.
Migrants from Central America, part of a caravan traveling to the United States, wait to cross into Mexico on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in El Ceibo, Guatemala, January 18, 2020. REUTERS / Victor Pena
President Donald Trump has threatened to economically damage Mexico and the countries of Central America if they allow large numbers to reach the U.S. border. UU. U.S. border agents have tracked the last exodus from Honduras this week.
Small groups of migrants crossed the bridge from Tecun Uman, Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Saturday after the Mexican National Guard repelled an attempt by some of the Central Americans to make their way through the border gates.
Then, most migrants withdrew to Tecun Uman to await the arrival of more travelers behind them in the hope that they will have a better chance of progressing in a caravan.
“We have been organizing,” said José Luis Cruz, a 33-year-old auto worker from Comayagua, Honduras, who left a wife and two children in an attempt to reach the United States.
Cruz said that the immigrants who were waiting at Tecun Uman wanted to try to enter Mexico en masse around 5 a.m. on Monday, hoping the authorities would let them pass to avoid clashes.
“If we cross alone, they will catch us, and all the sacrifices we have made to get here will have been in vain,” he added.
The Guatemalan government says that at least 4,000 people have entered from Honduras since Wednesday, which represents one of the biggest waves since three Central American governments signed agreements with the Trump administration forcing them to assume more responsibility for dealing with migrants.
Tecun Uman’s main migrant shelter quickly filled up to 600 people, and another 1,300 interrupted their trip to a second makeshift shelter, local priest Alfredo Camarena said.
Mexican authorities have so far controlled the border more successfully than at the end of 2018, when a large caravan of people tried to break through the same crossing. Many later crossed to Mexico through the Suchiate River that divides the two countries.
Mexico has offered work to migrants in the south, but those who do not accept or apply for asylum will not receive safe conduct passes to the United States, the Interior Ministry said.
Written by Dave Graham; Edition by Nick Zieminski