3,000 Honduran migrants force their way into Mexico

    19 de octubre de 2018

    Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- Thousands of Honduran migrants forced their way through a police cordon at a border crossing between Mexico and Guatemala and entered Mexican territory on Friday.

    The roughly 3,000 men, women and children, who are part of the caravan that set out from Honduras aiming to reach the United States, left a park in the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman where they had been resting and walked toward the border with Mexico, where a large contingent of Guatemalan soldiers were waiting for them.

    After some moments of tension, heightened by the suffocating heat and the large number of people gathered at the border crossing, the large crowd forced their way through the police cordon and crossed into Mexico.

    Mexico's second-ranking official, Government Secretary Alfonso Navarrete, said that the Honduran migrants had entered Mexico "in a violent fashion," injuring several police officers and reneging on their commitment to cross the border in small groups.

    He told Milenio TV that Mexican authorities had reached a compromise with the migrants to let them enter Mexico in groups of between 50 and 100 people, though the agreement was not respected by the caravan.

    "They accepted, but a few minutes ago hundreds of Hondurans forced their way into Mexico in a violent fashion, injuring several Mexican police officers," Navarrete said.

    He claimed that the migrants' entry into Mexico was organized by "specific groups" who put pregnant women and children on the front lines, a decision that he described as an "atrocious act."

    "Evidently, the police would never take action against children or pregnant women," he said.

    He insisted that the migrants' decision to force their way into Mexico "breached the agreement" with the Mexican government, which, according to Navarrete, had safeguarded their interests and "faced every threat and pressure from other nations, especially the United States," a country that threatened to close its border with Mexico to stop the caravan.

    The caravan of Honduran migrants left San Pedro Sula on Oct. 13 with the goal of crossing into Mexico and reaching the United States.

    Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement on Thursday that the first asylum requests from the caravan's members had begun to be received and processed.

    On Wednesday, Mexico sent a contingent of some 240 Federal Police officers to its southern border to assist immigration agents.

    "Our presence seeks to ensure a safe and orderly migration," Federal Police Commissioner Manelich Castilla told Foro TV.

    "We are preparing to carry out a containment operation that will safeguard migrants' human rights. We are not here to repress, we are here to assist," the commissioner said.