Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Hundreds of Salvadorans form new US-bound caravan

Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US walk near Mapastepec southern Mexico Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US walk near Mapastepec southern Mexico
Gerardo Duncan | 29 October, 2018, 17:09

About 300 Salvadorans departed Sunday from the Plaza El Salvador del Mundo in the capital of San Salvador.

At a news conference late Sunday, Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida denied that his country's forces were responsible.

Orbelina Orellana, a migrant from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, said she and her husband left three children behind and had made a decision to continue north one way or another. He says federal police were attacked with "stones, firecrackers, glass bottles and glass bottles", and some of the aggressors were carrying firearms and gasoline bombs.

The president has painted the group as an imminent threat to the USA border, and suggested without evidence that Democrats may be funding the caravan.

"Mexico does not criminalize undocumented immigration", he said.

The tensions of a long trek, through searing heat and with tenuous supplies of food and other goods, spilled over Saturday night, when a dispute over a food line ended in a man's beating. Many in the caravan have been on the road for more than two weeks, since the group first formed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. When a man with a megaphone asked people to wait their turn, some men hurled insults at him. Police rescued him and took him to a hospital for treatment, though his condition wasn't immediately clear. But now there's a smaller one out of Guatemala consisting of several hundred migrants who are hoping to catch up to the big caravan currently leaving Tepanatepec.

"Is that the way we're going to always behave?" a woman from Honduras asked.

Others complained of trekkers smoking marijuana or warned that images of litter and uneaten food made them appear disrespectful.

On Friday, the Pentagon approved a request for additional troops at the southern border, likely to total several hundred, to help the U.S. Border Patrol as the president seeks to transform concerns about immigration and the caravan into electoral gains in the November 6 midterms.

Earlier this year, officials form the Department of Homeland Security, including Mr. McAleenan and Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, publicly encouraged would-be asylum seekers to ask for refuge at ports of entry, saying that was the only legal way to apply for asylum at the US border.

The trip could be twice as long if the 4,000 or so migrants head for the Tijuana-San Diego frontier, as another caravan did earlier this year.

The leaders of a caravan of Central American migrants making its way toward the US southern border called for its members to stop and rest near the Mexican town of Tapanatepec, about 1,000 miles from the USA border, The Associated Press reported.

Cesar Quinonez is a volunteer firefighter in Tecun Uman and he told The Associated Press by phone that several Guatemalan police officers and migrants were injured as the group kicked and pushed its way through the gate on the Guatemalan side of the border.

She was suspicious of the government's proposal and said that some Hondurans who had applied for legal status had already been sent back. The IDs, called CURPs, authorize the migrants to stay and work in Mexico, and the ministry said pregnant women, children and the elderly were among those who had joined the program and were now being attended at shelters.

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