– The Washington Times,
Mexico has asked the United Nations for assistance with the migrant caravan knocking on its border, saying international officials must help figure out who deserves asylum and who should be deported or refused entry.
Hundreds of Mexican police faced off Thursday across the Mexico-Guatemala border against the vanguard of the caravan, which has grown to some 4,000 people, mostly from Honduras. Some migrants reportedly made it to shelters in Mexico.
Mexican officials were desperately trying to block the migrants after President Trump threatened Thursday to cancel his proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal as punishment for Mexico’s failure to patrol its southern border.
He said another option would be to deploy the U.S. military.
“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as president, than trade or the USMCA,” he tweeted. “Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught.”
That demand put Mexico between an unstoppable force — the migrants, who are backed by human rights activists — and an immovable object: Mr. Trump.
The plea to the U.N. appeared to be a solution.
Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray went to New York to make his request personally for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to get involved.
The exact U.N. role would have to be worked out, but it appears Mexico is seeking the international body’s help in identifying which of the migrants in the caravan would qualify as refugees worthy of protection and which are more properly viewed as traditional illegal immigrants.
Any person wishing to enter national territory must do so by complying with the requirements established in the Migration Law and at the authorized entry points, and may then move freely in Mexico until the expiration of the visa,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added: “Current legislation does not permit entry into Mexico if requirements to travel to a neighboring country have not been met.”
The caravan started with several hundred people in San Pedro Sula, a notoriously violent city in Honduras’ northwest.
As word of mouth and press coverage spread, others joined up, figuring there was strength in numbers. Now, as many as 4,000 men, women and children are streaming across Guatemala and hoping to traverse Mexico to reach the U.S.
Another caravan of more than 400 people also reportedly left Honduras to enter El Salvador this week.
Immigrant rights activists have said the people must be treated as refugees deserving of protections, entitled to enter the U.S. and make claims of asylum.
U.S. security analysts, pointing to history, say most of them are not refugees but are looking for jobs or to reunify with family in the U.S. illegally.
Still, U.S. law gives them a chance to claim asylum. Because of court decisions and a lack of resources, the government releases asylum-seekers while their claims are pending. At that point, most of them disappear into the shadows.
Of the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children and families caught jumping the U.S. border in 2017, more than 98 percent remain in the country, said the Department of Homeland Security.
The Honduran government this week pleaded for the caravan to disperse, saying political rabble-rousers were using it to try to embarrass the U.S. and Central American governments.