Mexico vows to meet migrant 'challenge' as caravan hits border

Mexico vows to meet migrant 'challenge' as caravan hits border

By Daina Beth Solomon

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government on Friday vowed to meet the challenge of a caravan of Central American migrants heading north that has angered U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened to shut down the U.S-Mexico border to halt its passage.

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.

"It's a challenge that Mexico is facing, and that's how I expressed it to Secretary Pompeo," Videgaray told a news conference alongside his U.S. counterpart.

The Mexican government has sought assistance from the United Nations refugee agency to help process migrants claiming refugee status at the southern border, a step that could allow it to disperse the train of people and placate Trump.

Pompeo said he and Videgaray spoke of the importance of stopping the caravan before it reaches the U.S. border. Pompeo thanked Mexico for its efforts to address the migrant flow, including calling in the United Nations for assistance.

Several thousand Honduran migrants seeking to escape violence and poverty moved through Guatemala on the way to Mexico, with some hoping to enter the United States.

Earlier on Friday, Videgaray said the caravan had close to 4,000 people and that the migrants could individually present their claims to enter Mexico or seek refugee status.

"We haven't had a caravan or group of this size seeking refuge at the same time, that's why we've sought the support of the United Nations," Videgaray told Mexican television.

Mexico says the migrants will be processed and that those without a legitimate case to travel onwards or stay in Mexico will be returned to their countries of origin.

A caravan of Central Americans that formed in southern Mexico in late March also drew the ire of Trump, who on Thursday threatened to deploy the military and close the southern U.S. border if Mexico did not halt the latest procession.

However, by the end of Thursday, Trump was also thanking Mexico for its efforts to contain the caravan.

In contrast to the earlier caravan, which moved deeper into the interior of Mexico before officials began intensive efforts to process the migrants, the Mexican government has focused on the new group right on its southern border with Guatemala.

(Reporting by Veronica Gomez, Julia Love and Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Delphine Schrank in Ciudad Hidalgo; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Alistair Bell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.


Updated Date: Oct 20, 2018 00:07 AM

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