Honduran migrants who have made their way through Central America were gathering at Guatemala's northern border with Mexico on Friday, despite President Donald Trump's threat to deploy the military to stop them entering the United States.
In a string of tweets, Trump also said the border issue was more important to him than the new trade deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Speaking after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Mexico City, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the two had discussed the caravan that set off from Honduras last weekend, and is now at the Mexican border.
He has urged the Republicans to make immigration a central issue of important Congressional elections which take place in the U.S. next month. His successor is Lopez Obrador, who has been cooperative in trade talks between the US and Mexico. The US no longer has to house them until their cases are heard.
The group has been dubbed the "march of the migrants".
Mauro Verzzeletti, a priest who runs the Casa del Migrante shelter in the Guatemalan capital, said about 3,000 people slept there overnight and left around 4 a.m.to continue the journey, adding that "more are arriving".
Mexican authorities have said that members of the caravan will be treated like anybody else seeking to enter Mexican territory: Those with proper documentation will be allowed to pass while anybody entering the country "in an irregular manner" will be apprehended and, if appropriate, returned to their home country.More news: Hurricane Michael plows inland, leaving devastation behind
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The country has deployed 500 federal officers to the border city of Tapachula, where migrants are expected to arrive next week.
Some have said they are fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras, where human rights activists have complained of constant human rights violations. "And we need to call it what it is", Gutierrez said.
Mexican officials said on Wednesday that those without papers would have to apply for refugee status or turn back.
To put that in context, in the early 2000s the authorities were arresting 1.5 million undocumented immigrants a year, while in 2018 so far there have been under 400,000 people detained.
More than 2,000 Hondurans are in a migrant caravan trying to reach the United States.
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the USA, line up to enter a migrant shelter in Guatemala City, Guatemala October 17, 2018. "Anyone who wants to work in our country will have help, will have a work visa", he pledged.
On Thursday, Trump referred to the caravan as an "assault on our country", citing "criminal elements and drugs pouring in". Trump has since thanked Mexico which has moved to step up security at its border with Guatemala.