'We're heading north!' Migrants nix offer to stay in Mexico

Pentagon sending 5,200 troops to border week before midterms

'We're heading north!' Migrants nix offer to stay in Mexico

Police boarded buses and headed further down the highway, while migrants cheered and vowed to trek all the way to the US border despite fierce opposition from President Donald Trump. The number of the caravan is approximately three and a half thousand people.

"After receiving a request for assistance from the secretary of homeland security, the secretary of defense has approved providing mission-enhancing capabilities to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southwest border", the DoD's press release explained.

A police official on a road just south of Oaxaca, where migrants were proceeding north from the town of Arriaga in Chiapas state, said authorities meant to keep presenting the asylum offer.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, referring to United States troops who are expected to be deployed to the southern border to deter an incoming migrant caravan, said Thursday that "we do not have any intention right now to shoot at people".

During her visit to the border, Nielsen told reporters, "Let me be clear, walls work".

Active-duty troops have been commonly used within the US mainland to aid in natural disaster relief, but they've rarely been ordered to support border operations, Pentagon officials said.

It's a move aimed at sending a message as a migrant caravan makes its way through Mexico, bound for the United States border, drawing the ire of President Trump. Nielsen said she was assured the argument did not occur.

Both Honduras and El Salvador have been plagued by rampant violence, while a lack of jobs has driven many Guatemalans to flee their country. Many migrants said they felt safer traveling and sleeping with several thousand strangers in unknown towns than hiring a smuggler or trying to make the trip alone.

US President Donald Trump has pointed to a caravan of migrants trekking north through Mexico as a major issue in the upcoming midterm elections. Alex Mensing, an organizer with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said that the main caravan consists of at least 8,500 people including some 7,000 from Honduras, and has grown in recent days. Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans make up the bulk of illegal immigrants apprehended at the US border.

Not long after the caravan resumed the trek north Saturday, government officials were seen for the first time directly helping the migrants by giving rides in trucks and providing water along the scorching highway. Some officials appear to want to shrink the caravan by keeping smaller groups of migrants from joining, while hoping that their grueling journey will make Mexico's offer of refuge more attractive. Some fear they will be deported if they take advantage of the program.

She argued that members of the caravan are unsafe, echoing Trump's claim that "unknown Middle Easterners" are mixed in with the crowd.

"It's hard because they walk very slowly", she said.

USA pilots would provide transportation for civilian government personnel, it said in a statement.

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