Thousands of Central American migrants on a desperate trek to reach the U.S. remained stuck Saturday on Mexico’s southern border, but many remained undaunted.
The migrants, who say they are escaping poverty, poor working conditions and violence, slept overnight on a bridge over the Suchiate River with no fresh supplies of water or food and without bathrooms, eyewitnesses said.
Some in the caravan – which is mostly people from Honduras – broke through a border crossing with Guatemala on Friday where they were met with a wall of Mexican and Guatemalan law enforcement officers who unleashed pepper spray, forcing the migrants to retreat onto the bridge.
On Saturday, organizers of the caravan were moving people about 30 feet back from the border gate to avoid another rush on the crossing and to establish a buffer zone with security officers.
The migrants vowed to press forward.
Jose Yanez, a 25-year-old farmer who said he made about $6 a day, woke early with a backache after a chilly night on the bridge. “From here, we’re going on. From here, there’s no turning back,” he said.
The group was on an early leg of a 1,100-mile journey to the U.S. border that President Donald Trump has made a key argument for his immigration policies in rallies leading into the midterm elections.
Trump referenced the issue in a Saturday morning tweet deriding Democrats, saying an immigration solution was still possible: “If the Democrats would stop being obstructionists and come together, we could write up and agree to new immigration laws in less than one hour. Look at the needless pain and suffering that they are causing. Look at the horrors taking place on the Border.”
Trump has threatened to cut off aid to Central America and close the southern border with Mexico if their respective governments failed to deal with the situation.
On Friday, women holding small children stood en masse at the front of the border gate, begging Mexican police to let them through.
“Please … Let us pass,” pleaded Alba Luz Giron Ramirez, a former shop employee and mother of three. She said her family had come from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and that gangs had killed her brother and threatened her.
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Source: USA Today