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As yet another caravan of migrants begins its trek north, Mexico is vowing that this time, it will stop the migrants before they reach their goal of the U.S. border.
The BBC and The New York Times each estimated the group contained “hundreds” of migrants as it left Honduras on Tuesday and began to cross Guatemala.
Reuters estimated the caravan had 2,200 people.
Although the group was initially met with tear gas at the Honduras-Guatemala border, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said Wednesday his nation would allow Hondurans in the country if they had proper identification.
The second & largest group of the #migrantcaravan left this morning on foot. Some say the 2020 caravan bigger than the first caravan, involving over 10,000 people but hard to get an estimate. #Honduras pic.twitter.com/2OCczPFZ3H
— Honduras Solidarity (@hondurassol) January 15, 2020
He warned, however, that Mexico would “do everything in their powers to stop” the group.
The comment came following a meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
After pressure from President Donald Trump, Mexico has said it will tighten enforcement when it comes to migrant caravans heading for the U.S.
Mexican Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero said Mexican officials would seek to assist Hondurans who want to remain in Mexico.
“Mexico is not only a transit country,” she told reporters. “In no way we have transit visas or safe passage.”
She said visas will not be issued to allow the migrants to move through Mexico.
“That’s very clear,” she said, according to Reuters.
Itsmania Platero, a freelance journalist and self-described “human right[s] defender,” said the migrants will not clear Mexico.
“The truth is, it is going to be impossible for them to reach the United States,” Platero told The Associated Press. “The Mexican police have a large contingent and they are going to catch all the migrants without documents and they will be detained and returned to their home countries.”
Although the strategy of a massed caravan trying to cross the border is reminiscent of caravans that attempted to slam against the U.S. border in 2018 and 2019, Mark A. Morgan, acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said Tuesday a lot has changed in recent months, according to the Washington Examiner.
He said Trump’s policy to work with Mexico and Central American nations is reducing the flow of illegal immigrants.
“This is not a political statement, it’s because I believe it and because it is true: The success that I just outlined is absolutely a direct result of this president’s strategies,” he said.
“We are succeeding in addressing this crisis.”
Also Tuesday, Morgan cited two statistics he said show Trump’s policies are making a difference,
He said daily apprehensions, which hit 4,600 in May, are now down to about 1,300. The 21-day average for the number of apprehensions is now below 1,000, down 78 percent.
“That’s a dramatic reduction,” he said.