The migrants hope that traveling en masse affords them protection from robbery, assault and other dangers.
By Sonia Perez D.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to cut aid to three Central American nations if they let people travel to the U.S. illegally, reacting to a caravan of some 2,000 migrants advancing through Guatemala with hopes of reaching the U.S. border.
Late Tuesday, Trump said via Twitter that the U.S. had conveyed the same message to the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, telling them that U.S. aid will stop if they allow migrants to travel from or across their countries with the intent of entering the United States without permission.
“Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!” he added.
Amid the tweeting, the migrants continued their trek. Despite having walked all day Monday with swollen, blistered and aching feet, the group rose shortly after sunrise from sleeping on the ground in their clothes in the town of Esquipulas.
Dozens attended Mass at the basilica in the city just across the border from Honduras and about 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of Guatemala City. The migrants resumed their journey escorted by Guatemalan police and covered some 30 miles to arrive in the town of Chiquimula for the night.
The group’s numbers have snowballed since about 160 migrants departed Friday from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, with many people joining spontaneously carrying just a few belongings. A Guatemalan priest estimated more than 2,000 were fed at three shelters run by the Roman Catholic Church.
Three weeks before midterm elections in the United States, the caravan elicited a tough response from Trump.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump had aimed his threat at Honduras.
However, the Central American nation’s ability to do anything appeared limited as the migrants already crossed into Guatemala on Monday, twice pushing past outnumbered police sent to stop them — first at the border and then at a roadblock outside Esquipulas.