TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – Hundreds of Central American migrants from a caravan crossing Mexico have gathered in Tijuana on Wednesday to plan to cross the border, despite threats from US President Donald Trump to reject them.
The arrival of migrants could jeopardize a flood of talks this week to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump threatened to scrap again and again if Mexico does not persist the flow of the Central Americans through its territory.
On Tuesday, busloads of migrants arrived at a shelter five minutes' walk from the border, hovering within sight of a US flag under an overpass connecting the two countries.
While many were resting in tents after a month-long journey through Mexico, others wandered to the border to contemplate the next leg of their journey.
"The wall does not look that big," said Kimberly George, a 15-year-old girl from Honduras, as she looked at a crippled barrier a few feet away. "I really want to cross it."
Migrants have fled their homes in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras for threats of local gangs, murdering family members or political persecution.
The traveling caravan that went from town to town became a stumbling block to US-Mexican relations after Trump released a series of tweets in early April urging Mexican authorities to stop them.
During the day, more busloads of migrants flooded the first animal shelter. Local immigrant support groups said it was the largest single group they saw together trying to find shelter in ten shelters.
"Thank goodness we are here," said 34-year-old Aide Hernandez from Guatemala, who had four children in tow. She said she plans to seek asylum in the United States. When asked about the reason, she looked down and was ashamed to tell a case of domestic violence.
Volunteers from the US-based advocacy group Pueblos Sin Fronteras, which organized the caravan, approached the migrants to discuss a plan to bring the main pedestrian bridge to the United States on Sunday.
Tensions flared after a Mexican immigration official proposed to go to the border station in smaller groups.
About 2,300 miles across the United States of Washington, D.C., Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videaray met US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen to discuss migration in Central America, the Mexican Ministry said in a statement.
Ministers from Mexico, Canada and the United States also met in the US capital as they hurried to seal a fast deal to update NAFTA.
It was unclear whether concerns about immigration could influence the talks. On Monday, Trump threatened to make immigration controls a condition in the NAFTA talks and demanded that Mexico prevent people from crossing their territory to enter the United States.
Arrangement by Michael O & # 39; Boyle, Toni Reinhold