Thousands of Central American migrants in caravan storm Mexico's southern border

Anti-government protesters participate in a march in Guatemala City Guatemala

Three weeks before US midterm elections, Trump has seized on the caravan as a political victor for Republicans.

Guatemala has closed its border gate and is standing guard with dozens of troops and two armored jeeps.

Thousands of Central American migrants participating in a caravan heading toward the United States woke up on a bridge that divides the borders of Guatemala and Mexico.

The migrant caravan is now stopped on a bridge linking the two countries as a police barricade set up by Mexico is blocking them from entering. About 50 managed to push their way through before officers unleashed pepper spray and the rest retreated. "We are good people, we are peaceful, but we need jobs". One migrant said: 'One way or another, we will pass'.

Edwin Santos of San Pedro Sula was one of the first to race past helpless Guatemalan police, clutching the hands of his father and wife. We are quickly reaching a point which appears to be a moment of crisis: record numbers of migrants.

"We couldn't go on like this", Lagos said, "we're traveling with six children".

Earlier on Friday, Mr. Videgaray said the caravan had close to 4,000 people and that the migrants could individually present their claims to enter Mexico or seek refugee status.

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On Friday riot police used tear gas to force back the crowd, most of whom are from Honduras.

Mexican authorities have met and spoken with the migrants, telling them 100 would be allowed through each day to be processed.

"Violent entry into the country not only threatens our sovereignty, but also puts the migrants themselves at risk", Pena Nieto said in a video published on his social media profiles.

"There is nothing there", Orellana said.

A child is carried over the border fence as thousands of Honduran migrants rush across the border towards Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.

As the sun rose, a military helicopter flew along the Mexican side of the river foreshadowing the difficulties they could face. Residents of Mexican and Guatemalan border cities brought water and food to the Hondurans after yesterday's police attack.

And according to global law, the United States can not deport asylum seekers without first determining the validity of their claim.

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The Mexican government has said any migrant who decides to cross illegally will be detained and deported.

Early Thursday he tweeted: "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!"

Throughout the week, federal police aircraft arrived in the city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, with hundreds of federal officers equipped with antiriot gear.

"They promised they will give us a visa but the people are there (on the bridge) since yesterday and they have not given us anything", Benitez said as he waited for friends who were crossing on another raft, made from huge truck tires.

At a news conference with Videgaray, Pompeo called illegal migration a "crisis" and emphasized "the importance of stopping this flow before it reaches the U.S. border", while also acknowledging Mexico's right to handle the crisis in a sovereign fashion.

The news comes as families entering the USA illegally have reached a record high, prompting a demand from President Donald Trump that Central American countries and Mexico take steps to correct the situation immediately.

"Mexico is in favor of legal, safe and orderly migration", he noted.

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"Before taking decisions of that kind", Videgaray said, "there would be many people in the United States. who would consider the consequences".

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