TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – Hundreds of Central American migrants from a caravan that crossed Mexico met in Tijuana on Wednesday and planned to cross the border together this weekend in defiance of threats by President Donald Trump to repel them.
The time of arrival of immigrants could compromise a series of talks this week to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump has repeatedly threatened to eliminate if Mexico does not take energetic measures. in the flow of Central Americans through its territory.
Buses full of migrants began arriving on Tuesday at a shelter that was a five-minute walk from the border and within sight of a US flag. UU Waving under a flyover that connects the two countries.
While many rested in tents after a month-long trip through Mexico, others wandered to the border to contemplate the next stage of their journey.
"The wall does not look that high," said Kimberly George, a 15-year-old girl from Honduras who looked toward a rickety barrier a few meters away. "I really want to cross it."
Migrants said they fled their homes in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras due to death threats from local gangs, the killing of relatives or political persecution.
Moving from town to town, the migrant caravan became an obstacle to US-Mexican relations after Trump unleashed a series of tweets in early April, in which he told the Mexican authorities that Stop them.
More buses full of migrants arrived during the course of the day, overflowing the first refuge. Local migrant aid groups said it was the largest group they had seen coming together as they struggled to find places in ten shelters.
"Thank God we are here," said Aide Hernandez, 34, of Guatemala, who had four children on her back. She said she planned to seek asylum in the United States. When asked why, she looked down, ashamed to detail a case of domestic abuse.
Volunteers from the human rights group Pueblos Sin Fronteras, which organized the caravan, addressed the migrants to discuss a plan to cross the main pedestrian bridge to the United States together on Sunday.
Tensions erupted after a Mexican immigration official suggested they go in smaller groups to the border station.
At about 2,300 miles in the United States in Washington, DC, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray met with the Secretary of National Security of the United States, Kirstjen Nielsen, to analyze Central American migration, the Mexican ministry said in a statement. .
The ministers of Mexico, Canada and the United States also met in the US capital. UU While rushing to close a quick agreement to update the NAFTA.
It was not clear if concerns about immigration could affect 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.
Edition by Michael O & # 39; Boyle, Toni Reinhold