Around 1,700 migrants have reached Mexico’s border with the United States, despite measures by the administration of US President Donald Trump to stop their entry into America.
The Central American migrants, mostly Hondurans, arrived in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, on Tuesday.
The Mexican point is located across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas.
Mayor Claudio Bres Garza of Piedras Negras said law-abiding migrants “who behave themselves” would be welcome in the border city.
Authorities in Piedras Negras have converted several old factory buildings into shelters to house the migrants. Women and children will sleep separately from the men, according to the authorities.
Their arrival comes as Trump delivered his annual State of the Union address, in which the issue of border security occupied center stage after a record five-week government shutdown triggered by his spat with Congress over funding for his promised wall along the border with Mexico.
In his speech on Tuesday, Trump vowed to get his controversial border wall built despite Democratic opposition, even as he urged Congress to work with his administration to forge a deal.
“Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe,” he said.
Trump warned earlier in the day that if necessary, he would build a “Human Wall” along the US border with Mexico to stop caravans from entering the country.
“Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!” he tweeted.
Trump has already ordered the deployment of US soldiers along the border with Mexico, where they have been helping immigration officials stop the flow of migrants from a previous caravan to process their asylum requests.
US Border Patrol agents have on occasion used force against the asylum seekers, firing tear gas and rubber bullets to stop them from entering.
US border agents once again use tear gas to prevent Central American migrants from crossing the US-Mexico border.
Apart from the caravan that reached the US border on Tuesday, another caravan, with 3,800 migrants, is also in Mexico, moving northbound, according to Mexican authorities and migrant rights activists.
That caravan is in the state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala. Its members still have approximately 2,000 kilometers ahead of them before they reach the US, depending on the route they take.
Both caravans started in Honduras, with more migrants joining them from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua along the way.
Thousands of Central American asylum seekers, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries, similarly reached the US in 2018.
The asylum seekers travel in caravans for protection against Mexican gangs that prey on them en route.
Meanwhile, Trump has suggested that he would declare a national emergency in order to get $5.7 billion funding to build his controversial wall along the US-Mexico border.
Trump has made toughening immigration policies a central tenet of his presidency.