US-bound migrants press through Mexico

Central American have been arriving in the town of Mapastepec in southern Mexico on their way north.Thousands of Central American migrants have begun arriving at a town in southern Mexico on their march toward the United States, where President Donald Trump has declared them unwelcome and threatened to cut off aid to their home countries.

Men, women and children, mostly from Honduras, had set out early on foot from the town of Huixtla in the southern state of Chiapas to continue their slog toward the US border, more than 1770km away.

They began arriving in the town of Mapastepec, about 60km to the northwest, by Wednesday afternoon.

Their trek has drawn the ire of Trump, who has used the migrant caravan to fire up support for his Republican party before the November 6 congressional elections.

It has also prompted Washington to put pressure on the Mexican government to halt the migrants’ progress.

The caravan, which began as a march of a few hundred people from the crime-racked Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on October 13, has swelled into the thousands as it was joined by migrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Mexican authorities have told the migrants they will not be able to cross illegally into the United States but private citizens have offered them supplies and rides.

Alex Mensing of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group that organised a previous migrant caravan that angered Trump in April, said the caravan comprised about 10,000 people.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras is accompanying the caravan, which Mensing forecast would fragment in due course.

“It’s very unlikely that 10,000 people will arrive together at a border city between Mexico and the United States,” he said.

“There will be people who stay in Mexico, there will be people who go to different borders because everyone has their own plan and different support where they have family members.”

Mexican authorities have tried to walk a fine line between responding to Trump’s demands to close its borders while also respecting migrants’ rights.

Mexico’s interior ministry said late on Tuesday about 4500 people reached Huixtla, about 50km north of the Guatemalan border.

A separate group of least 1000 migrants, also mostly Hondurans, has been moving slowly through Guatemala toward Mexico.