More than 2,000 Honduran migrants traveling en masse through Guatemala resumed their journey toward the United States on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump sought to turn the caravan into a political issue three weeks before midterm elections.
Trump suggested he was even prepared to put at risk the recently renegotiated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, redubbed as USMCA. Earlier this year, some National Guard members were deployed to the border on a limited mission that does not include contact with migrants.
Mexico has said the Hondurans would not be allowed to enter as a group and would either have to show a passport and visa - something few have - or apply individually for refugee status, a process that can mean waiting for up to 90 days for approval.
Trump also vowed to stop aid to Central American countries if a large number of migrants - or as the president called it, an "onslaught" - from Honduras is not stopped before they reach the US.
That's a tiny portion of the nearly 1,350 miles (2,170 kilometers) they'd have to travel to reach the closest USA border. Some migrants have reportedly already made it to shelters in Mexico.
Trump also threatened in April to withdraw aid from Honduras and other countries that allowed passage for a similar caravan that originated in the Central American country. Cooperating with the US on strict border policies has been met with a serious backlash in Mexico and contributed to the election of incoming-President Andres Obrador.
Mexico is seeking worldwide aid as the country prepares for the arrival of thousands of migrants. Republicans seeking to retain control of the House of Representatives will likely present the migrant caravan as evidence of what they say is a need to further tighten the U.S. -Mexico border.
Illegal immigration is likely to be a top issue in November 6 USA congressional elections and Trump said migrants in the caravan were being used by his political opponents.
Trump's stance, he said, was "what he has always presented", adding he saw "nothing surprising in it".
Mexico's foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
The threat came in a series of angry tweets about immigration in which he also warned that he could stop funding to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and again falsely accused Democrats of wanting "open borders" and "weak laws".
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