Immigrant caravan could be weeks away from the U.S. border

Trump says he will cut off aid to Central American nations for failing to stop migrant caravan

Thousands of Central American migrants resumed an arduous trek toward the U.S. border Monday, with many bristling at suggestions there could be terrorists among them and saying the caravan is being used for political ends by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump has blamed Democrats for what he said were weak immigration laws and claimed - with no evidence - that MS-13 gang members and unknown "Middle Easterners" were hiding among the migrants.

The caravan of Central Americans trekking to the United States shrank when 500 accepted bus trips back to their home countries and hundreds of others dropped out or were granted asylum in Mexico, authorities said.

And Trump, at rallies and on Twitter, has tried to paint the Democrats as pro-illegal immigration, even claiming, with no evidence, that Democrats had organized and paid for the caravan, which remains more than 1,000 miles from the USA border.

"We know this won't end in a few days, and will be a long progress of migration", said Mauro Verzeletti, director of the Casa del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Guatemala City.

While the president and his predecessors have requested state governors to deploy the National Guard to the border before, as Trump did in April when a smaller migrant caravan tried to cross into the USA, he had warned last weekend that he would send in "the military, not the guard". "I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergency". We have to leave our country because it's very unsafe.

"In fact, over the past two years, Trump and his immigration adviser Stephen Miller made sure to blow up every serious effort to enact bipartisan immigration legislation". "Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally", Trump said.

Under rain, people take cover at a makeshift camp set up by a caravan of Central American migrants traveling to the U.S, in Mapastepec, Mexico, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. The Immigration and Nationality Act gives the attorney general the power to authorize state and local law enforcement officers to assist federal immigration officials, but they would be bound by the same restrictions.

And another separate group of about 1,000 Hondurans started their own march across Guatemala, headed for Mexico and then the United States.

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Group travel is particularly appealing for women, children and other vulnerable migrants.

"We are going to the promised land", Garcia said, motioning to his fellow travellers.

Britany Hernandez added: "We have sunburn. We'll get a piece of plastic to cover ourselves if it rains again". "Our strength is greater than Trump's threats".

"There is nothing in the agreement that says we can't send parents to state licensed facilities as well", said Judd.

On Tuesday, most of the caravan idled in Huixtla, Mexico, for a day's rest.

It has comprised between 3,000 and 5,000 people at various times as it moved through Guatemala, according to various sources.

Mexico's government said in a statement on Tuesday that it had received 1,699 requests for refugee status, including children. Media reported that Mexican police watched the procession with vigilance but did not disturb the migrants' journey.

Vice President Mike Pence claimed Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández had spoken to him about the caravan.

The Honduran president acknowledged that social problems were a contributory factor.

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