The Mexican government, responding to President Donald’s Trump request for help, sent federal police to block a huge caravan of migrants that say they’re bound for the United States as the migrants prepared to cross from Guatemala into Mexico.
Two 727 Boeing planes filled with federal police officers landed near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, to intercept the caravan.
Video footage from the police’s press office circulated on Twitter, showing dozens of officers milling around outside one of the planes.
The Interior and Foreign Relations ministries said in a joint statement that any migrant in the caravan without proper immigration papers would be arrested and “returned to their country of origin,” reported USA Today.
Policía federal arriba a la ciudad de Tapachula, Chiapas con 244 elementos con equipo antimotines para blindar frontera sur por paso de #CaravanaMigrante #caravanahondureños pic.twitter.com/tK4ZLDyJE5
— Alejandro Madrigal (@melitonmadrigal) October 17, 2018
Migrants with proper papers or who wish to apply for asylum will be allowed to enter Mexico, the ministries added.
The response came as Mexico’s ambassador to Guatemala met with the migrants in Guatemala City on Oct. 17, telling them that there is no such thing as a transit visa for those wishing to cross Mexico to reach the United States.
“The migrants were also informed of the serious risks posed by irregular entry into the country, particularly that of migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks, which is why, as noted in the joint press release issued today by the Foreign and Interior Ministries, the Mexican government will rescue migrants who enter the country in an irregular manner and process them administratively in order to ensure their safe and orderly return to their country of origin,” the government said in a statement.
The migrant caravan, estimated at some 3,000 people, were preparing to cross into Mexico on Oct. 19, reported the Associated Press. Some plan to try to cross the Suchiate River on a raft.
Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you! https://t.co/wf7sE0DHFT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018
Trump shared the footage on Twitter, praising the response. “Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!” he said late on Oct. 18.
A few hours earlier, he had shared video footage that appeared to show organizers of the caravan handing out money.
“Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?” he said.
The footage was originally posted by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who didn’t disclose the origin. “Footage in Honduras giving cash 2 women & children 2 join the caravan & storm the US border @ election time. Soros? US-backed NGOs? Time to investigate the source,” he wrote on Oct. 17.
The Epoch Times previously reported that the video appeared to originate from Facebook user Enrique Vitanza, who said it was sent to him from a witness in Guatemala.
Spoke with Guatemalan President @jimmymoralesgt about caravan heading for the US & made clear our borders & sovereignty must be maintained. We expect our partners to do all they can to assist & appreciate their support. Reiterated @POTUS' message: no more aid if it’s not stopped!
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 16, 2018
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence issued strong warnings to Central American countries which allow migrants to leave and try to illegally enter the United States.
“I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S.,” Trump said on Oct. 18.
“In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
He said securing the border is “far more important” than trade, including the newly agreed upon USMCA, a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
In 2017, the United States sent about $530 million in aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The caravan, which has swelled to thousands of people, originated in Guatemala last week and crossed into Honduras on Oct. 15, after a brief standoff with Honduras police officers.