A caravan of migrants escaping Honduras has grown to as many as 4,000 parents and children, forcing Mexican authorities to send additional police to the country’s border with Honduras.
NBC News reports that the caravan, which includes a large number of migrant children including some traveling without their parents, has split into two groups as it attempts to pass through Mexico on its way to the United States.
The Trump administration, using the State Department, is reportedly pressuring Mexican authorities to stop the caravan before it reaches the United States. President Trump has frequently criticized Mexican officials for not doing more to stop groups of migrants traveling from elsewhere in Central America through its borders to an eventual illegal entry in the U.S.
President Donald Trump called on the Honduran government to stop it or otherwise face having U.S. aid cut.
“The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” President Trump tweeted Tuesday.
According to the United States Agency for International Development, Honduras received $175 million in aid from the U.S. in fiscal 2017.
The President’s tweet followed Monday reports of the group of 1,600 Hondurans moving north towards the U.S. The caravan formed in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Saturday and crossed into Guatemala on Monday, CNN informs. One of the coordinators was detained a day later, but other members of the caravan continued north.
Some of them have told the news outlet that they are escaping poverty and violence in Honduras in search of a better life in the United States. They have also been warned by the U.S. Embassy in Honduras that the journey is dangerous and that the United States would enforce its immigration laws.
Mexico’s foreign ministry likewise warned the members of the caravan that they would not be able to enter the country if “requirements to travel to a neighboring country have not been met.”
“To avoid surprises, please inform yourself before starting out,” the ministry added in its statement.
On Monday, the immigrant group was detained at the Guatemalan border for almost two hours, but after refusing to go back, police there let them pass.