Thousands of migrants try to cross into Mexico

A caravan of Honduran migrants arrived at the Guatemala-Mexico border on Friday. The massive group was contained by police in riot gear.

Posted: Oct 21, 2018 7:41 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2018 8:02 PM

Thousands of Central American migrants fleeing poverty and violence packed a bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico in sweltering heat Saturday as part of a politically charged, US-bound caravan.

At least one migrant, from Honduras, was killed after falling from a vehicle, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez told reporters after meeting with his Guatemalan counterpart.

"What we have seen in recent days is without precedent," he said.

At one point Saturday, several dozen migrants on the desperate trek north sang the Honduran national anthem on the edge of the muddy Suchiate River between Tecun Uman, Guatemala, and Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.

Others, including a middle-aged woman and her three children, lowered themselves from the bridge on a ladder and climbed onto a makeshift raft that delivered them to Mexico as federal police officers watched nearby.

Exhausted migrants waded across the Suchiate, holding their belongings above the chest-high waters. Rafts ferried others to Mexico.

A group of men helping the migrants across the river chanted "Si se puede" in Spanish, or "Yes you can." Occasionally, young men jumped from the bridge into the river as onlookers cheered.

Once in Mexico, the migrants rested at a nearby warehouse that turned into a shelter, where they received food, water and medical care.

Their journey continued one day after defiant caravan members rushed past border gates only to be stopped by rows of Mexican riot police who dispersed tear gas and smoke canisters into the crowds.

The slow procession north has led President Donald Trump to threaten to cut aid to Central American nations and to send troops to the US border if Mexico fails to stop the surge.

After US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and top officials met in the Mexican capital the night before, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Saturday that Mexico was "fully engaged in finding a solution that encourages safe, secure and orderly migration."

At a rally in Elko, Nevada, Trump attacked Democrats, suggesting they want more caravans. He called the migrant situation "sad from both sides."

On the border between Mexico and Guatemala, members of the caravan seemed undeterred by rhetoric from Washington.

"Our message is we're not criminals," Honduran migrant Orlean Herrera said. "We're coming over here because we need a better life. That's why we're here."

Another man shouted, "Donald Trump is the anti-Christ."

By Saturday morning, the bridge was teeming with men, women, teenagers and children. Some fainted from the heat.

Mexican authorities starting Friday were allowing a trickle of migrants, starting with women and children, to pass through gates near the bridge to Tapachula, where they boarded buses for refugee camps.

Others, chanting and cheering, pushed through or climbed over a steel gate Friday until riot police repelled them with tear gas and smoke canisters. Video showed coughing and weeping migrants collapsed on the bridge. Several police and an undetermined number of migrants were injured.

It was unclear how many migrants would cross the border and how long that process would take. Mexican authorities have said they'd allow migrants to enter the country if they have valid visas or meet other requirements.

The caravan formed last Saturday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and arrived Monday in Guatemala. Migrants told CNN en Español they were bound for the United States, seeking work and fleeing political corruption and violence.

Leaders throughout the region have publicly urged them for days to turn back.

Hernandez, the Honduran President, said more than 550 Honduran nationals were being bused back to Honduras, and would be offered jobs and other aid upon their arrival.

Pompeo: 'This is an organized effort'

Four Mexican police officers were injured in the standoff at the Mexican border, Pompeo said Friday.

Speaking to reporters on a tarmac in Mexico City, where he'd been meeting with leaders about the caravan and other matters, Pompeo accused the caravan of using women and children "as shields as they make their way through."

"This is an organized effort to come through and violate the sovereignty of Mexico," Pompeo said.

Pompeo said he had a "good conversation" with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and that the two countries are jointly focused on the caravan issue, but "the Mexican government is making all the decisions on how to address this."

Peña Nieto called the confrontation a "unique incident," saying the migrants did not follow the protocols that Mexican immigration officials put in place. He added that some migrants "assaulted and even injured" a number of unarmed members of the Mexican police before they could contain the violence.

"Mexico won't allow anyone entering its territory in an erratic way and much less a violent way," he said Friday night in a video statement released on Twitter.

Peña Nieto said Mexican officials would continue welcoming those traveling with the migrant caravan despite Friday's incident.

Trump, who's been criticizing the caravan with fiery tweets all week, reiterated his threat Friday that if Mexico doesn't stop the migrants, he'll take more drastic action.

"If that doesn't work out, we're calling up the military, not the Guard, we're calling up the military, and we're going to have the military stationed," Trump said. "They're not coming into this country. They might as well turn back."

Trump has also threatened to cut foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Clash on the bridge

Members of the caravan gathered Friday morning in the border city of Tecun Uman. They waited in sweltering heat -- with temperatures in the mid-80s and 70% humidity -- for hours for others to arrive, packing streets for blocks on end.

They streamed through gates on the Guatemalan side of the border around noon Friday, cheering and chanting as they marched. Celebratory air horns blared as they headed toward Mexico's port of entry.

When they reached a padlocked steel fence near the Mexican side of the bridge, the sheer number of migrants allowed them to break through.

Mexican police pushed them back. Hundreds of Mexican Federal Police sealed the border as drones and helicopters hovered above the crowd.

At least a dozen migrants jumped into the river.

Some of the migrants on the bridge said they joined the caravan because they were desperate for work and had no other choice.

Mexican officials have said people seeking asylum will be processed at Mexico's southern border. But it's unclear what will happen next.

Click here to get the latest updates from the Mexico-Guatemala border

Will they reach the US border?

Mexican authorities haven't said whether anyone from the caravan will be permitted to travel to the US border.

They've previously outlined how they planned to respond to the group, stating:

• Anyone with a valid visa will be able to enter and move freely.

• Anyone who wants to be recognized as a refugee or as a beneficiary of "complementary protection measures" must do so individually. Those who do so will be held "at a migratory station" for as many as 45 business days.

• Anyone who enters "in an irregular manner" 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."

Mexican authorities also have said they're asking for help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to process migrants seeking refugee status.

This spring, when another caravan of Central American migrants crossed into Mexico, such policies allowed that group to make it to the US border.

The latest caravan comes weeks before high-stakes midterm elections in the United States, in which many Republican candidates have been echoing the President's messaging about boosting border security and cracking down on illegal immigration.

Trump has pointed to the caravan as a key issue in the upcoming elections, describing the group's approach as an assault on the US border. Immigrant rights advocates have accused his administration of trying to create a crisis to motivate his voter base.

Honduran and Guatemalan leaders talk

Hernandez met Saturday in Guatemala with his counterpart, Jimmy Morales, to work on "implementing a strategy and logistics for the return of Honduran migrants," Hernandez said on Twitter.

Hernandez also sought permission from Guatemala to send Civil Protection personnel to assist Honduran migrants inside Guatemala on Friday, according to several posts on his official Twitter account.

In addition, Hernandez requested authorization to "hire ground transportation for those wishing to return, even airlifting special cases of women, children, the elderly and sick," he said, thanking the Guatemalan government for "all the attention given to our Honduran brothers."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 77°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Scattered showers and storms are likely Sunday evening. Strong to severe storms are possible. Hot and humid for Father's Day.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events