Mexico deploys hundreds of riot police as migrants near

Border patrol vehicle

As some 3,000 Hondurans made their way through Guatemala, attention - and pressure - turned to Mexico, after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to close the U.S. -Mexico border if authorities there fail to stop them - a almost unthinkable move that would disrupt hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings each day.

In a string of tweets on Thursday, Trump also said the border issue was more important to him than the new trade deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement pact. If Mexico ultimately cracks down on the caravan, it would be seen as a coup for the administration in the United States - especially among Trump's supporters -and would speak to how successful efforts to build bridges with the Mexican government have been, even as Trump continues to boast about building a border wall.

After a week of walking and hitching rides across Central America, the first members of a 3,000-strong caravan of migrants were preparing on Friday morning to cross the Suchiate river into Mexico - despite threats of retaliation from Donald Trump. Defense Secretary James Mattis later authorized the National Guard to deploy up to 4,000 troops on the southern border.

In part, the response is meant to both dissuade the migrants from even attempting to enter Mexico and potentially to show the Trump administration that Mexico is willing to, as the government put it, "maintain order". His successor is Lopez Obrador, who has been cooperative in trade talks between the USA and Mexico.

But at least five U.S. states later refused to send the troops amid an outcry over a since-abandoned White House policy to separate migrant children from their parents at the border.

Thousands of Honduran migrants are traveling through Guatemala, according to humanitarian aid groups.

Mexico's next foreign minister said he was not surprised by Mr Trump's comments, but did not elaborate.

Locals said they had been warned by Mexican authorities not to carry people.

In April, Mexican immigration officials had some success in dispersing a smaller caravan by processing many who chose to seek refugee status in Mexico, but some did continue on to the us border. López Obrador, the president-elect, will take over December 1.

Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, line up to enter a migrant shelter in Guatemala City, Guatemala October 17, 2018.

Cristian, a 34-year-old cell phone repairman from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, says he wants to reach the U.S.to work.

On Thursday, Trump referred to the caravan as an "assault on our country", citing "criminal elements and drugs pouring in".

A political crisis in the wake of last year's elections also led to thousands of arrests and a number of deaths.

But those troops serving there have very limited duties and cannot detain or arrest suspected undocumented immigrants nor can a lot of them carry weapons.

19 that the caravan turned back when it got to the Mexico-Guatemala border.

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