Caravan of people headed to U.S. 'national emergency'

TOPSHOT- A Honduran migrant boy taking part in a caravan heading to the US cries as he waits on the Guatemala Mexico border bridge in Ciudad Tecun Uman Guatemala

WASHINGTON-President Trump on Monday said the USA would cut off or "substantially reduce" foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants-many of whom crossed the Mexican border illegally-continued its journey toward the U.S.

Trump also expressed frustration with Mexico's military and police, saying they appear "unable to stop the Caravan" and that he has alerted the US Border Patrol and military to what he termed a national emergency.

A team of journalists traveling with the caravan for more than a week has spoken with Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans, but has not met any Middle Easterners of the sort Trump suggested were "mixed in" with the Central American migrants.

"We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid" that the United States provides to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, he said.

He added that the United States would begin "cutting off, or substantially reducing aid" to three Central American countries.

The migrants, who said they gave up trying to enter Mexico legally because the asylum application process was too slow, had gathered on Saturday at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo.

On Saturday Mexican authorities attempted to resolve the challenge posed by the caravan waiting to enter Mexico's southern border by legal means.

As of Sunday (Monday NZT), the caravan of migrants from Central America had grown to roughly 5000 people, a group that stretched along the main highway in Tapachula, Mexico, for more than a kilometre.

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After being temporarily halted by Mexican police in riot gear as they tried to cross the Guatemalan border in Mexico, the group reorganized and vowed to march to the U.S. border.

He also continued to blame Democrats for the mass of migrants marching north - repeating a claim he's made at numerous campaign rallies as he tried to fire up the Republican base before next month's midterm elections.

Mexico's president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office December 1, said the United States should welcome all migrants.

They say they are fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras and El Salvador and plan to seek asylum in the US.

He has threatened to stop giving aid to countries like Honduras and Guatemala, where numerous migrants have come from.

Civil defence officials for Mexico's southern state of Chiapas said they had offered to take the migrants by bus to a shelter set up by immigration officials about seven kilometres outside Tapachula, but the migrants refused, fearing that once they boarded the buses they would be deported.

The throng of Central American migrants marching toward the United States border has swollen to more than 5,000, despite Mexican efforts to stop them.

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