Kirstjen Nielsen warns of cartels' role in migrant caravan

Honduran migrants board trucks sending them back to Honduras after they crossed the border into Guatemala illegally in their bid to reach the US

The migrants, who said they gave up trying to enter Mexico legally because the asylum application process was too slow, gathered on Saturday at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo.

A caravan of migrants, whose numbers have been estimated to range between 3,000 to 4,000 strong, began converging on the Guatemala-Mexico border early Thursday evening.

Trump has also threatened to cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - some of the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas - if they fail to prevent undocumented immigrants from heading to the United States.

As the day wore on, migrants began jumping from the bridge and swimming to the Mexican side or climbing aboard makeshift rafts, which ferried them to shore.

Late Thursday, Trump retweeted an image of reinforcements arriving at Mexico's southern border and wrote: "Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!"

Francisca: I joined the caravan because I was afraid to come on my own but I want my children to have a better life than me.

Recent interviews with migrants underscored just how organized smugglers and organizers are with the help of social media apps - from Facebook to WhatsApp - making it easier to organize the exodus of people who, citing safety concerns, prefer to move in large groups.

But "they don't all register here for fear of being detained", admitted Hernandez.

Two Central American migrants wait for the train siting on the railway tracks in the Guadalajara Metropolitan area, Mexico on August 10, 2018.

President Trump has threatened to cut-off aid and deploy troops if Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras fail to stop the caravan before reaching the USA border.

It's not immediately clear if Mexican authorities plan again to try to stop the march, which has swelled to some 5,000 people.

With Mexico unable to stop a caravan headed to the USA from Guatemala, the group is burgeoning in size.

Numerous migrants are seeking refugee status in either Mexico or the United States.

"So as of this moment, I thank Mexico", Trump said Friday at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Twenty-year-old Scarleth Cruz says she is going to apply for political asylum in Mexico because of threats and repression she faced back home in Honduras from the governing party of President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

He said he wants to reach the U.S.to work and save money before returning to Honduras.

"The journey has been very tough, very hard but there's no work in Honduras", said 20-year-old Glenda Salvador, a mother of two toddlers and one of the multitude of Hondurans gathering in a Tecun Uman park close to the bridge crossing from Guatemala to Mexico.

She added in a subsequent tweet that she has been in "constant contact" with her foreign counterparts in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and that her department was monitoring the situation and ready to provide assistance if necessary.

When confronted by reporters en route to the border, many migrants have said they are hoping to reach the U.S.to find work.

"I don't know what happened, I thought we were going to cross peacefully and then suddenly there were rocks flying and tear gas". I call on the USA and Mexico to help us, because I am not a woman who needs handouts.

Sairy Bueso, a 24-year old Honduran mother of two, was another migrant who abandoned the bridge and crossed into Mexico via the river.

Once they were processed, migrants were bused to an open-air, metal-roofed fairground in the nearby city of Tapachula, where the Red Cross set up small blue tents on the concrete floor.

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