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Central American migrants traveling in caravan grows to 10,000, support group says

  • October 25, 2018

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Thousands of migrants camp overnight in southern Mexico as they make their way towards the U.S. border.
USA TODAY

MEXICO CITY — The mass exodus of migrants from Honduras and other Central American countries traveling in a caravan has swelled to 10,000 people.

But the caravan is still at least 1,000 miles away from the nearest border city in the U.S. and it could take a month or longer before the migrants achieve their goal of reaching the United States, said Alex Mensing, a U.S.-based organizer with the group Pubelo Sin Fronteras, which is providing humanitarian assistance. 

On Wednesday, migrants traveling with the caravan began to reach Mapastepec, a town on the Pacific coast in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. They had traveled about 90 miles from the border with Guatemala since crossing into Mexico over the weekend.

It is still unclear which route they will take to reach the U.S., Mensing said.

Oct. 24: Tracking the migrant caravan: Traveling town to town in journey to U.S. border

Oct. 24: Who is organizing this latest migrant caravan and other questions you might have

Estimates of the caravan’s size have varied widely. The U.N. reported Monday that about 7,200 people were in the group, while Mexico later said the size had dipped to 4,500 as people returned home or stayed behind to apply for asylum.

Mensing said the caravan included about 7,000 migrants mostly from Honduras who registered with Mexican officials after crossing the border from Guatemala and about 1,500 who had joined in recent days.

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From Mexico City, Arizona Republic reporter Daniel Gonzalez gives an update on the migrant caravan on Oct. 24, 2018.
Nick Oza, azcentral.com

The caravan is making slow progress because they are traveling mostly on foot and by hitching rides on cars and trucks, Mensing said. Reports from the ground described parents pushing strollers or carrying children on their shoulders.

Migrants traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. typically ride freight trains, known as “la bestia,” the beast, but that is not possible with so many people traveling together at once, Mensing said.

“There isn’t a normal route. The usual route is the train. But so many people can’t enter by train,” he said in a conference call with media outlets.

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Central American migrant Cristian pushes a carriage occupied by his daughters; Karen, 5, left, and Beiyi, 4, as they make their way to Mapastepec, Mexico, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in a caravan headed to the U.S. Rodrigo Abd, APMarvin Sanabria, a Central American migrant traveling with a caravan to the U.S., kneels in prayer after waking up, in Huixtla, Mexico, Tuesday. The caravan, estimated to include more than 7,000 people, had advanced but still faced more than 1,000 miles, and likely much further, to the end of the journey. Moises Castillo/APHonduran migrants, who were taking part in a caravan heading to the US, board a bus to return to Honduras, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on Oct. 20, 2018. Some 220 Honduran migrants were returning to their country and some 130 were waiting at a shelter Saturday, according to a police source, while thousands who forced their way through Guatemala’s northwestern border and flooded onto a bridge leading to Mexico, were waiting at the border in the hope of continuing their journey. Johan Ordonez, AFP/Getty Images

  • Central American migrants traveling with a caravan to the U.S. crowd onto a tractor as they make their way to Mapastepec, Mexico, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Thousands of Central American migrants renewed their hoped-for march to the United States on Wednesday, setting out before dawn with plans to travel another 45 miles of the more than 1,000 miles that still lie before them. 1 of 92
  • Central  American migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S., walk in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 24, 2018. 2 of 92
  • A Central American migrant taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S., holds up a sign reading Thank you Mexico for opening your hearts to us, while he waits to cross the border from Ciudad Tecun Uman in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 22, 2018.3 of 92
  • Central American migrants walking and aboard trucks head in a caravan to the U.S., in Huixtla, on their way to Mapastepec Chiapas state, Mexico, Oct. 24, 2018.4 of 92
  • Central American migrant Cristian pushes a carriage occupied by his daughters; Karen, 5, left, and Beiyi, 4, as they make their way to Mapastepec, Mexico, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in a caravan headed to the U.S.5 of 92
  • Central American migrants heading in a caravan to the U.S., walk in Escuintla on their way to Mapastepec Chiapas state, Mexico, Oct. 24, 2018. 6 of 92
  • Honduras' Human Rights National Commissioner Roberto Herrera is pictured after being briefed on the situation regarding the recent passage of a massive caravan of Honduran migrants, at the Guatemala-Mexico border bridge, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on Oct. 23, 2018. Late Monday, Mexico allowed another group of about 400 migrants to enter the country after they spent days packed onto a bridge over the Suchiate River, which forms Mexico's southern border with Guatemala.7 of 92
  • Aerial view of the Guatemala-Mexico international bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Tuesday.  The bridge remains empty a day after a caravan of Honduran migrants heading to the U.S. crossed it. The United Nations said more than 7,000 people were now heading toward the U.S., as more migrants joined the original group, including some Central Americans who were already in Mexico.8 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant is assisted after having a convulsion during a stop in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Tuesday. Thousands of mainly Honduran migrants heading to the United States -- a caravan President Donald Trump has called an assault on our country -- stopped to rest Tuesday after walking for two days into Mexican territory.9 of 92
  • Marvin Sanabria, a Central American migrant traveling with a caravan to the U.S., kneels in prayer after waking up, in Huixtla, Mexico, Tuesday. The caravan, estimated to include more than 7,000 people, had advanced but still faced more than 1,000 miles, and likely much further, to the end of the journey.10 of 92
  • Honduran migrants who were heading to the U.S., get on a bus to return to their country, after abandoning the caravan in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, border with Mexico. - At least 25 Hondurans taking part in the migrant caravan, returned back to their country after reaching the Guatemalan border with Mexico.11 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant child brushes his teeth during a stop in their journey, in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Tuesday.12 of 92
  • Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S., take a bath in the Huixtla river, in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico. Forced by the violence and poverty of their country, desperate parents have exposed hundreds of babies and children to travel in a migrant caravan crossing Mexico to the United States, showing the cruelest face of this exodus.13 of 92
  • Migrants select clothing placed along the road by Mexican citizens during their journey to the United States, in Huixtla, Mexico. Hundreds of Mexicans distribute, altruistically from vehicles or on foot, food, water, medicine or clothing. 'The heart hurts when you see the children and there we feel the humanity of them, and how the Government does nothing', says Reina Lucia Ochoa, an inhabitant of the southeastern state of Chiapas.14 of 92
  • Migrants queue, Tuesday, to receive food during a stop in their journey, in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.15 of 92
  • Clothes dry in the sun by the bank of the Huixtla river, in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.  Thousands of mainly Honduran migrants head to the United States -- a caravan President Donald Trump has called an assault on our country.16 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant woman has an ultrasound done to check his pregnancy, on Tuesday, during a stop in their journey at the Central Park in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.17 of 92
  • Mexican citizens distribute medicines to  Honduran migrants, Tuesday, during their journey to the United States, in Huixtla, Mexico.18 of 92
  • Honduran migrant, Luis Lopez, taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S., walks with his dog during a stop in their journey, in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.19 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant couple and their five kids taking part in a caravan heading to the US, wait to cross the border from Ciudad Tecun Uman in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Oct. 22, 2018. President Donald Trump on Monday called the migrant caravan heading toward the US-Mexico border a national emergency, saying he has alerted the US border patrol and military.20 of 92
  • Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, aboard a truck in Metapa on their way to Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Monday.21 of 92
  • Migrants take part in a new caravan, Monday, heading to the US with Honduran and Guatemalan national flags in Quezaltepeque, Chiquimula, Guatemala.22 of 92
  • A truck in Metapa takes Honduran migrants on their way to Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico.23 of 92
  • An aerial view of Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US, Sunday, on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico. President Trump called the caravan's approach a national emergency and said he has alerted the US border patrol and military, setting the stage for a confrontation when the swelling mass of migrants reach the border.We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid that the United States provides to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, he said.24 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant rests as he waits to cross the border from Ciudad Tecun Uman in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.25 of 92
  • A mirant rests in a tent at the International Mesoamerican Fair's venue in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico.26 of 92
  • A member of the Guatemalan Red Cross attends an Honduran migrant heading in a caravan to de US, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala.27 of 92
  • Migrants are heading in a caravan to the US, in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Monday.28 of 92
  • Migrant activist Irineo Mujica, center, holds a megaphone as a Central American migrant speak to reporters during a press conference in Tapachula, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. It is a shame that a president so powerful uses this caravan for political ends, said Mujica of the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras or People Without Borders, which works to provide humanitarian aid to migrants.29 of 92
  • Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto takes a selfie with the next negotiator of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Jesus Seade Kuri (R) during the 17th Mexico Business Summit 'Facing the strategic challenges of Mexico and the Region', at the Guadalajara Expo, in Jalisco, Mexico, Monday. Pena Nieto warned that the Central American migrants of the caravan heading to the United States who do not respect the law will be unable to reach the country or remain in Mexico.30 of 92
  • Construction workers are seen by a reinforced section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Baja Calif. state, Mexico.31 of 92
  • Migrants onboard a truck take part in a caravan heading to the US, near Huehuetan, on their way from Tapachula to Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.32 of 92
  • Migrants packed in the bed of a truck take part in a caravan heading to the US, near Huehuetan, on their way from Tapachula to Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.33 of 92
  • Miigrants hitch a ride on a truck as they take part in a caravan heading to the US, in the outskirts of Tapachula, on their way to Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico.34 of 92
  • Migrants to the wait to cross the border from Ciudad Tecun Uman in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Monday.35 of 92
  • Caravan  participants bathe using water from a fire hydrant at the main plaza in Tapachula, Mexico, Monday.36 of 92
  • Clothes belonging to a Honduran migrant hangs to dry on the fence of a border bridge that stretches over the Suchiate River, connecting Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Monday. Hundreds of migrants, who are part of a caravan bound for the U.S.-Mexico border are waiting on the border bridge to be attended by Mexican immigration authorities.37 of 92
  • A Central American migrant, who fell from the back of a moving vehicle and died, lies on a highway covered by a sheet outside of Tapachula, Mexico, Monday. Motorists in pickups and other vehicles have been offering the Central American migrants rides, often in overloaded truck beds, as the group of about 7,000 people heads to the U.S. border.38 of 92
  • Migrants hitch rides on all sorts of on vehicles, as they continue on another stretch of Mexican territory towards the United States, in this case a garbage truck.39 of 92
  • epa07111632 Honduran migrants remain on the bridge that divides Mexico from Tecun Uman, Guatemala, 22 October 2018. Thousands of Honduran migrants that are part of the caravan that seeks to cross Mexico to reach the United States are preparing for a new journey through the southeastern state of Chiapas.  EPA-EFE/Esteban Biba ORG XMIT: MEX001140 of 92
  • A Mexican migrant boy remains next to tents at a shelter in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, in the border with the US.41 of 92
  • Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US, arrive in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico after crossing the Suchiate River from Guatemala, on October 20, 2018. - Thousands of migrants who forced their way through Guatemala's northwestern border and flooded onto a bridge leading to Mexico, where riot police battled them back, on Saturday waited at the border in the hope of continuing their journey to the United States. 42 of 92
  • epa07110455 Honduran migrants wait at the border bridge between Guatemala and Mexico in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, 21 October 2018. Around 200 Honduran migrants spent the night on the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico. People, including children, are still waiting to enter Mexican territory and continue their journey to the United States, as many thousands have done before.  43 of 92
  • Honduran migrants take part in a caravan heading to the US on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico on October 21, 2018. - Thousands of Honduran migrants resumed their march toward the United States on Sunday from the southern Mexican city of Ciudad Hidalgo, AFP journalists at the scene said. 44 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant covers his face with sunscreen standing over a bridge that stretches over the Suchiate River connecting Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Guatemala's migration agency confirmed that another group of about 1,000 migrants crossed into the country from Honduras on Sunday. 45 of 92
  • A migrant heading in a caravan to the US, holds Mexican, US and Honduran national flags on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, on October 21, 2018. - Thousands of Honduran migrants resumed their march toward the United States on Sunday from the southern Mexican city of Ciudad Hidalgo, AFP journalists at the scene said. 46 of 92
  • Honduran migrants take part in a caravan heading to the US on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Oct. 21, 2018.Thousands of Honduran migrants resumed their march toward the United States on Sunday from the southern Mexican city of Ciudad Hidalgo, according to news reports. 47 of 92
  • Honduran migrants take part in a caravan heading to the US on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Oct. 21, 2018. 48 of 92
  • Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, cross the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico, in makeshift rafts, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Oct. 21, 2018.49 of 92
  • Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, rest on the border of Guatemala and Mexico, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Oct. 21, 2018.50 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant boy taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S., cries as he waits on the Guatemala-Mexico border bridge, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Oct. 20, 2018.51 of 92
  • Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, sleep in the main square of Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, in the border with Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018. Thousands of migrants who forced their way through Guatemala's northwestern border and flooded onto a bridge leading to Mexico, where riot police battled them back, on Saturday waited at the border in the hope of continuing their journey to the United States. 52 of 92
  • Honduran migrants, who were taking part in a caravan heading to the US, board a bus to return to Honduras, in Ciudad Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on Oct. 20, 2018. Some 220 Honduran migrants were returning to their country and some 130 were waiting at a shelter Saturday, according to a police source, while thousands who forced their way through Guatemala's northwestern border and flooded onto a bridge leading to Mexico, were waiting at the border in the hope of continuing their journey. 53 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant heading in a caravan to the US, prepares to jump to the Suchiate River from the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge, near Mexican Federal Police officers, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018.54 of 92
  • A Mexican Federal Police officer stands guard on the bank of the Suchiate River in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, while a caravan of Honduran migrants heading to the US tries to get to Mexican territory from Guatemala, on Oct. 20, 2018.55 of 92
  • Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US, cross the Suchiate River, natural border between Guatemala and Mexico, helped by a rope, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018. 56 of 92
  • Honduran migrants heading in a caravan to the US, help others get down to the Suchiate River from the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018.57 of 92
  • Aerial view of a Honduran migrant caravan heading to the US, on the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018. 58 of 92
  • A group of Honduran migrants arrives to the Mexican side of the border after crossing the Suchiate River aboard a raft made out of tractor inner tubes and wooden planks, on the the border with Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. The entry into Mexico via the bridge that connects the two countries has been closed. The main group of migrants have moved about 30 feet back from the gate that separates them from Mexican police to establish a buffer zone. About 1,000 migrants now remain on the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico. 59 of 92
  • Honduran migrants await access on the bridge that crosses the Suchiate River after crossing the fence on the border with Guatemala to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico on Oct. 19, 2018. 60 of 92
  • Police try to prevent hundreds of Honduran migrants to cross a police checkpoint to Guatemala, at the Agua Caliente border crossing, in Ocotepeque, Honduras on Oct. 19, 2018.61 of 92
  • A Guatemalan firefighter carries an ailing baby, as an Honduran migrant caravan heading to the US, reaches the Guatemala-Mexico international bridge in Tecun Uman, Guatemala on Oct. 19, 2018. 62 of 92
  • An Honduran migrant heading in a caravan to the US, is cooled down by police officers after struggling to cross one of the gates of the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 19, 2018. 63 of 92
  • Thousands of Honduran migrants wait for access on the bridge that crosses the Suchiate River after crossing the fence on the border with Guatemala to enter in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico on Oct. 19, 2018. 64 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant mother and child cower in fear as they are surrounded by Mexican Federal Police in riot gear, at the border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Central Americans traveling in a mass caravan broke through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed by the thousands toward Mexican territory, defying Mexican authorities' entreaties for an orderly migration and U.S. President Donald Trump's threats of retaliation. 65 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant girl kneels in front of a police checkpoint at the Agua Caliente border crossing in Ocotepeque, Honduras on Oct. 19, 2018. Honduran authorities intensified immigration control measures at the Agua Caliente point, bordering Guatemala, to prevent hundreds of Hondurans seeking to reach the USA from crossing into the neighboring country. 66 of 92
  • Honduran migrants climb a border fence, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Migrants broke down the gates at the border crossing and began streaming toward a bridge into Mexico. After arriving at the tall, yellow metal fence some clambered atop it and on U.S.-donated military jeeps. Young men began violently tugging on the barrier and finally succeeded in tearing it down.67 of 92
  • TOPSHOT - Honduran migrants attempt to cross the border Goascoran River to enter illegally to El Salvador, in Goascoran, Honduras on October 18, 2018. - US President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to send the military to close its southern border if Mexico fails to stem the onslaught of migrants from Central America, in a series of tweets that blamed Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. (Photo by MARVIN RECINOS / AFP)MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: 207 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1A477L68 of 92
  • epa07104768 Rafters help Honduran migrants to cross the Suchiate River that divides Guatemala and Mexico in Escuintla, Guatemala, on 19 October 2018, from where they will continue their journey to USA.  EPA-EFE/ESTEBAN BIBA ORG XMIT: GU50269 of 92
  • epa07104770 Rafters help Honduran migrants to cross the Suchiate River that divides Guatemala and Mexico in Escuintla, Guatemala, on 19 October 2018, from where they will continue their journey to USA.  EPA-EFE/ESTEBAN BIBA ORG XMIT: GU50270 of 92
  • epa07104769 Honduran migrants rest in the Tecun Uman's park in Escuintla, Guatemala, 19 October 2018, before continue their way to Mexico. Migrants, who hope to arrive to the United States to seek better living conditions, slept in an open-air theater and in the Catholic church of Tecun Uman, a few kilometers from the Suchiate River, which divides Guatemala and Mexico, where a group of migrants has already started a new stage of the crossing.  EPA-EFE/ESTEBAN BIBA ORG XMIT: GU50271 of 92
  • epa07104767 Honduran migrants rest in the Tecun Uman's park in Escuintla, Guatemala, 19 October 2018, before continue their way to Mexico. Migrants, who hope to arrive to the United States to seek better living conditions, slept in an open-air theater and in the Catholic church of Tecun Uman, a few kilometers from the Suchiate River, which divides Guatemala and Mexico, where a group of migrants has already started a new stage of the crossing.  EPA-EFE/ESTEBAN BIBA ORG XMIT: GU50272 of 92
  • A woman, part of the group of Honduran migrants on the border of Honduras with El Salvador crosses the Goascoran River despite the increased flow caused by intense rains in the last hours, in El Amatillo, eastern Honduras, Oct. 18, 2018.73 of 92
  • A group of Honduran migrants on the border of Honduras with El Salvador continue their journey to the US at El Amatillo, eastern Honduras, Oct. 18, 2018. 74 of 92
  • Honduran migrants continue their march to the department of Escuintla to approach the border with Mexico leaving the Casa del Migrante shelter in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Oct. 18, 2018. 75 of 92
  • Migrants run to board a bus as part of a caravan of immigrants en route to the Mexican border in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Oct. 18, 2018. 76 of 92
  • Honduran migrants attempt to cross the border Goascoran River to enter illegally to El Salvador, in Goascoran, Honduras Oct. 18, 2018.77 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant holds up a replica of the Black Christ of Esquipulas as a caravan of migrants making their way to the U.S. arrives to Esquipulas, Guatemala, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. The Guatemalan police blocked the road of the caravan for several hours before allowing the migrants to continue on their way. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) ORG XMIT: XMC13778 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants pauses at a Guatemalan police checkpoint after crossing the border from Honduras on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221930279 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221949280 of 92
  • A faint Honduran migrant woman is helped as Guatemalan police temporarily block the road after her caravan crossed the Honduras-Guatemala border without incident, in Esquipulas, Guatemala, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Police stopped the migrants for several hours but the travelers refused to return to the border and were eventually allowed to pass. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) ORG XMIT: XMC13681 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  Honduran immigrants overnight at an migrant shelter on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. A caravan of at least 1,500 Central Americans, the second of its kind in 2018, began in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico in route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105227079682 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221937883 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants pauses at a Guatemalan police checkpoint after crossing the border from Honduras on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221936284 of 92
  • Hondurans march in a caravan of migrants moving toward the country's border with Guatemala in a desperate attempt to flee poverty and seek new lives in the United States, in Ocotepeque, Honduras, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. The group has grown to an estimated 1,600 people from an initial 160 who first gathered early Friday in a northern Honduras city. They plan to try to enter Guatemala on Monday. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) ORG XMIT: XMC10685 of 92
  • epa07095951 Guatemalan policemen prevent Honduran migrants from crossing the Agua Caliente border, in Chiquimula, Guatemala, 15 October 2018. The migrant caravan aims to reach the United States fleeing the poverty and insecurity in their country  EPA-EFE/Esteban Biba ORG XMIT: GUA0886 of 92
  • A Honduran migrant holds up a replica of the Black Christ of Esquipulas as Guatemalan police temporarily block the road after the caravan crossed the Honduras-Guatemala border without incident, in Esquipulas, Guatemala, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. The caravan began as about 160 people who first gathered early Friday to depart from San Pedro Sula, figuring that traveling as a group would make them less vulnerable to robbery, assault and other dangers common on the migratory path through Central America and Mexico. The group has since grown to at least 1,600 people. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) ORG XMIT: XMC12787 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221935088 of 92
  • Honduran migrants holds up their national ID cards as Guatemalan police block them and their caravan after the group crossed the Honduras-Guatemala border without incident, in Esquipulas, Guatemala, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Police stopped the migrants for several hours but the travelers refused to return to the border and were eventually allowed to pass.  (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) ORG XMIT: XMC13189 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221945490 of 92
  • ESQUIPULAS, GUATEMALA - OCTOBER 15:  A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. The caravan, the second of 2018, began Friday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with plans to march north through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the United States. Honduras has some of the highest crime and poverty rates in Latin America.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775243532 ORIG FILE ID: 105221932091 of 92
  • Honduran migrants walk past a roadblock of Guatemalan police as they make their way to the U.S., in Esquipulas, Guatemala, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Police stopped the migrants for several hours but the travelers refused to return to the border and were eventually allowed to pass. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) ORG XMIT: XMC13492 of 92

Caravan of exaggeration: Trump makes dubious claims about Central American migrants

Oct. 23: Fewer caravan migrants marching to US-Mexico border, says Mexican government

In March, a migrant caravan organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras began in Tapachula with about 1,500 people. The caravan arrived about a month later in Tijuana, after traveling a distance of about 2,500 miles.

By the time the caravan reached Tijuana, it had dwindled to about 300 people, after many who started out headed off on their own or decided to remain in Mexico to apply for work visas or asylum.

The latest caravan continues to grow despite a steady stream of tweets from President Donald Trump, calling the group a national emergency and claiming that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” are mixed in with the migrants. 

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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pushed back Wednesday on whether President Donald Trump was fearmongering over the Central American migrants’ caravan, describing it as a “very serious issue.” (Oct. 24)
AP

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the U.S. would not allow the caravan to enter the U.S. illegally “under any circumstances.”

“From a security standpoint, there is no proper accounting of who these individuals in the caravan are, and this poses an unacceptable security risk to the United States,” Pompeo said. “Moreover, many of these people are ripe targets for human traffickers and other people who would exploit them, and we don’t want that to happen.”

Pompeo said he also has spoken twice with his counterpart in Mexico, Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, to urge the Mexican government to take “timely action” to resolve the crisis.

Oct. 23: Who is behind the migrant caravan? Ignore the conspiracy theories, activists say

Oct. 23: A previous migrant caravan faced the same federal scrutiny. Here is how that turned out

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., joined Trump in blasting the caravan, calling it an “army of illegal migrants” who have “malevolent intentions.” 

“Hostile members of this ‘caravan’ proudly wave Honduran flags representing the country they are fleeing,” Biggs said in an op-ed published Tuesday by the Washington Examiner.

“Their supporters defaced the American flag with a swastika and then burned it,” he wrote, citing a claim that has been questioned or discredited. “Their conduct belies their claim of victim-hood. Their behavior indicates strongly that this army of illegal migrants have malevolent intentions.” 

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  • Honduran migrants walk past a roadblock of Guatemalan police in Esquipulas, Guatemala, on Oct. 15, 2018, as they make their way to the United States. Police stopped the migrants for several hours but the travelers refused to return to the border and were eventually allowed to pass.1 of 10
  • Honduran migrants stand outside a Catholic church, one waving his nation's flag, before starting to walk again as part of a caravan Oct. 16, 2018, in Esquipulas, Guatemala. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to cut aid to Honduras if it doesn't stop the impromptu caravan of migrants.2 of 10
  • Honduran migrants walk in a group toward the U.S., as they make their way through Chiquimula, Guatemala, on Oct. 16, 2018.3 of 10
  • Omar Orella pushes Nery Maldonado Tejeda in a wheelchair Oct. 16, 2018, as they travel with hundreds of other Honduran migrants near Chiquimula, Guatemala. They were headed for the United States.4 of 10
  • Honduran migrants walk toward the United States. as they arrive at Chiquimula, Guatemala on Oct. 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras if the nation doesn't stop the impromptu caravan of migrants.5 of 10
  • A Honduran migrant carries his son in Chiquimula, Guatemala, on Oct. 16, 2018, as he heads toward the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras if it doesn't stop the migrant caravan.6 of 10
  • A couple of nuns accompany Honduran migrants as they arrive Oct. 16 in Chiquimula, Guatemala, on their way to the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras if the impromptu caravan of migrants isn't stopped.7 of 10
  • Honduran migrants rest Oct. 16, 2018, at an improvised shelter in Chiquimula, Guatemala. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras if the nation doesn't stop the impromptu caravan of migrants.8 of 10
  • Honduran migrants rest Oct. 16, 2018, at an improvised shelter in Chiquimula, Guatemala. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras if the impromptu caravan of migrants isn't stopped.9 of 10
  • Honduran migrants rest Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, at an improvised shelter in Chiquimula, Guatemala.10 of 10

Migrant caravan is major concern for attendees of Trump-Cruz rally

Oct. 22: Exclusive: President Trump vows to send as many troops to the border ‘as necessary’ to stop caravan

“The organizers of this caravan are death and starvation,” Mensing said. “The truth is people who are fleeing for their lives will do whatever they can to get in.”

Mensing also said that migrants from Central America have been traveling to the U.S. for years, but traveling in caravans has grown more popular as people have seen the success of previous caravans. 

Migrants who join these caravans tend to be people who don’t have relatives in the U.S. or money to pay smugglers, he said. Joining a caravan offers a way of traveling to the U.S. in a relatively safe manner than on their own, when they are more vulnerable to attacks by criminal organizations or abuses by Mexican authorities, he said.

People who arrive at ports of entry to the United States have a right to apply for asylum, which is what many caravan participants plan to do.

Follow Daniel González on Twitter: @azdangonzalez

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A look at the Central American migrant caravan that reached the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year shows that only a few whom requested asylum were approved.
USA TODAY

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