Trump uses migrant caravan to fire up his base

Honduran migrants take part in a caravan towards the United States in Chiquimula Guatemala

The numbers trying to enter the United States had prompted a warning from Mr Trump, where he insisted he would call up the USA military and close the southern border with Mexico if Mexico failed to stop the masses of people from travelling through that country.

Pompeo told VOA Contributor Greta Van Susteren on Friday that Mexican officials want to create a situation where migrants "understand that it is not fruitful to transit though Mexico into the United States".

Judicial Watch said terrorists can easily slip undetected into the caravan because minors are not properly vetted despite the fact many in Guatemala and Honduras have turned to criminal gangs committing violent crimes.

Police and immigration agents began letting small groups of 10, 20 or 30 people through the gates at a time if they wanted to apply for refugee status.

But Marcelo Ebrard, who has been picked as Mexico's next foreign minister, downplayed the comments and said Trump was appealing to his domestic political base.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told the Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America last week that "not only have we arrested them within our territory, but they have been deported to their countries of origin". Mexico has sought help from the United Nations' refugee agency, which may have the effect of dispersing the caravan.

"If that doesn't work out, we're calling up the military, not the guard, we are calling up the military and we're going to have the military stationed there, not coming into this country".

President Trump is using the migrant caravan as a weapon to bash the Democrats.

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called illegal immigration a "crisis", and insisted that migrants must be stopped before reaching the USA border. The move has been welcomed by the United States president. Caravan organizers were asked to respect Mexican assurances that they would meet with groups of 50 people to ascertain proper traveling papers and asylum requests.

Aerial images show dense crowds at the Guatemala-Mexico worldwide bridge in Tecun Uman, Guatemala.

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On Tuesday, Trump also issued a warning to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador that they would lose all financial aid if they didn't stop the caravan.

Some migrants have tried to avoid the border checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, by crossing the Suchiate river.

But along the Mexico-Guatemala border, it was clear Saturday that stopping the caravan would require both resources and will that, so far, have been lacking.

Mr Trump returned to the issue on Thursday adding: "Hard to believe that with thousands of people from South of the Border, walking unimpeded toward our country in the form of large Caravans, that the Democrats won't approve legislation that will allow laws for the protection of our country".

He also indicated that the military would be called upon if needed. A recent Pew Research Center survey found a majority of Democratic voters - 57 percent - think the treatment of immigrants in the country illegally is a very big problem in the US, compared with just 15 percent of Republican voters who say the same.

Several people were reportedly injured in the clash, including migrants, police and journalists.

Selvin Flores, a 35-year-old shopkeeper from the Honduran city of Nacaome, said people who "were causing disorder" have been expelled from the group and handed over to Guatemalan police. They might as well turn back.

Will they reach the USA border?

The migrants are fleeing their country because of violence and poverty.

Flores has three children and said he sometimes skips meals to ensure that they eat.

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