After Rejecting Offer, Migrant Caravan Demands Transport From Mexican Authorities

After Rejecting Offer, Migrant Caravan Demands Transport From Mexican Authorities

The Defense Department says it's sending 5,200 active duty troops to "harden" the southern border against a migrant caravan making its way through Mexico.

A group of Central American migrants bound for the U.S border wade in mass across the Suchiate River, that connects Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala.

But Mexican officials seem intent only on seeing the caravan melt away as it travels toward the USA border. "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!" he added.

But the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that 5,000 troops would deploy to the southern border.

He said that Mexican federal police and immigration agents were attacked with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks when migrants broke through a gate on the Mexican side of the border, but that none of the officers were armed with firearms or anything that could fire rubber bullets.

The extraordinary military operation comes a week before the November 6 midterm elections as Trump has sought to transform fears about the caravan and immigration into electoral gains.

A USA official told ABC News that 2,000 active duty troops have already been placed on "prepared to deploy" orders in anticipation of those requests. "We have seen no evidence that it was helpful or effective when he sent the National Guard to the border in April". The new crop of troops who will be deployed by Saturday will join the roughly 2,100 National Guard forces already operating - primarily in logistics and background support missions - on the southern border in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had announced his "You are at home" plan, which offers "shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans in Chiapas and Oaxaca states if migrants apply, calling it a first step toward permanent refugee status".

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Representatives have demanded "safe and dignified" transportation to Mexico City, but the Mexican government has shown no inclination to assist - with the exception of its migrant protection agency that gave some stragglers rides to the next town over the weekend.

Several hundred migrants tried to cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala to Mexico en masse on Monday, but were met by ranks of Mexican federal police who blocked them from entering. One migrant was killed Sunday night by a head wound, but the cause was unclear.

If an asylum seeker enters the United States illegally, they are still entitled to a hearing of their claim.

The rising tensions prompted caravan leaders to call for a rest day and institute a "security committee", the Arizona Republic reported, another sign the unrest is not limited to rare altercations.

Nonetheless, Trump has repeatedly warned the group posed a national security threat to the United States, and he tweeted Monday it included "Many Gang Members and some very bad people". Migrants would be given Mexico's version of a social security number so they'd be able to open bank accounts and carry out other actions that require the number.

"Please go back", he urged them, "you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process".

Military personnel are legally prohibited from engaging in immigration enforcement. USA officials have told Reuters the support mission would be coordinated by the US military's Northern Command.

On Sunday, Defence Secretary James Mattis told reporters that construction materials, including barriers, were being moved to the border as part of the deployment.

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