Migrant caravan presses north toward US border
There are now 7,500 people marching north as part of a migrant caravan through Mexico, caravan organizer Dennis Omar Contreras tells CNN. He said the organizers did a count of participants this morning.
He said in about an hour, the migrants will leave Mexico’s Tapachula for the town of Huixtla, which is located about 21 miles northwest from their current location.
Crowds of migrants resumed their long journey north on Sunday from the Mexican border city of Ciudad Hidalgo, according to Mexican federal police officers.
It's unclear whether the caravan will be allowed to reach the US border. Mexican authorities previously outlined their plan to respond to the caravan once it arrived at the Mexican border:
- 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.
The Pentagon has not been tasked to “provide additional support” on the US southern border, Department of Defense spokesperson Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in a statement when asked by CNN.
On Monday, President Trump tweeted that he has “alerted Border Patrol and Military” about the caravan heading to the border.
"Beyond the National Guard soldiers currently supporting the Department of Homeland Security on our southern border, in a Title 32, U.S. Code, section 502(f) duty status under the command and control of the respective State Governors, the Department of Defense has not been tasked to provide additional support,” Davis statement read.
The Secretary of Defense has previously authorized up to 4,000 US troops to support DHS on the border, approximately 2,100 US troops are currently providing support on the border.
In a statement released Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said “we must remain mindful" of criminals who try to prey on those participating in the caravan making its way through Mexico and said the US will work with its partners to investigate and prosecute those who try to profit from it.
While we closely monitor the caravan crisis, we must remain mindful of the transnational criminal organizations and other criminals that prey on the vulnerabilities of those undertaking the irregular migration journey. We shall work with our partners in the region to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all who seek to encourage and profit from irregular migration. We fully support the efforts of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, as they seek to address this critical situation and ensure a safer and more secure region,” the statement said.
They are now 8 miles north of the river with a 30 day walk before they reach the U.S.
The caravan continues its march north into Mexico. In a pair of video tweets from CNN's Patrick Oppmann, migrants walk as a helicopter hovers overhead.
In this tweet from CNN's Patrick Oppmann, some Mexicans can be seen standing with clothes to donate to the migrants walking by.