A caravan of more than 3,000 migrants has arrived in a small town on the Mexico-Guatemala border, as President Trump threatens to deploy the military to the southern border and halt all crossings — both legal and illegal — if the caravan is not stopped.
The migrants, weary after traveling for days, arrived in the small border town of Tecun Uman on buses and trucks early on Thursday morning. Many were fed and housed in nearby migrant shelters run by local volunteers, but the town could not accommodate everyone, the Associated Press reported.
“It was a great sacrifice, but it’s all for a better life,” Jonathan Pareles, 22, who arrived with his wife and two kids, told the AP. “It’s not all good. We’re wet and we still don’t have a place to sleep.”
A large police presence gathered on the Mexican side of the border early on Thursday, toting barricades that had not yet been deployed.
The Mexican government released a statement on Wednesday, detailing its response to the impending influx of migrants.
Migrants in possession of a visa will be permitted entry, while those seeking refugee status will be held at a “migratory station” for up to 45 days. Anyone who attempts to cross the border illegally will be “rescued and subject to an administrative procedure and, where appropriate, will be returned to their country of origin in a safe and orderly manner.”
Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to shutter the border entirely using military personnel, praised the Mexican response on Twitter on Thursday:
Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you! https://t.co/wf7sE0DHFT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018