Thousands of migrants travelling in a mass caravan have burst through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed towards Mexican territory, defying Mexican authorities' entreaties for an orderly crossing and US President Donald Trump's threats of retaliation.
A caravan of Central Americans that formed in southern Mexico in late March also drew the ire of Trump, who on Thursday threatened to deploy the military and close the southern USA border if Mexico did not halt the latest procession.
The caravan arrived at the border in southern Mexico on Thursday but turned around Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Mexico has requested the assistance of the United Nations in the process of issuing asylum and deportation.
Mexico says the migrants will be processed and that those without a legitimate case to travel onward or stay in Mexico will be returned to their countries of origin.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the USA, and her daughter at a migrant shelter in Guatemala City Why are they leaving?
Cristian, who is among the informal leaders of the caravan, estimated about 30 percent of the migrants want to apply for refugee status in Mexico.
The map above shows the journey the caravan is taking from Honduras through Guatemala and up through Mexico into the U.S.
He did not seem concerned about Trump's threat to close the U.S. -Mexico border, saying the threat should be viewed in light of the hotly contested midterm elections in the United States, in which Trump has made border security a major campaign issue.More news: Luke Shaw signs new Manchester United deal
"It plays on fear and that works - and no one knows that better than Donald Trump". In recent years, Mexico has deported more Central American immigrants than the United States.
"If we don't get across, we're going to try the same thing again", said Gustavo Perez, a Honduran builder speaking at a shelter in Guatemala City.
A group of migrants breached the Mexico-Guatemala border Friday, according to reports. Later, he retweeted a video of Mexican federal police arriving at the Guatemalan border and wrote: "Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!"
"The journey has been very tough, very hard but there's no work in Honduras", 20-year-old Glenda Salvador, a mother of two toddlers, told AFP earlier in the day as the migrants massed in the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman, close to the bridge.
NBC reports that United States officials are now tracking that small group as they make progress towards the US. "They came in droves from Guatemala and Honduras through the Mexican border and for years Uncle Sam rolled out the welcome mat offering housing, food, medical treatment and a free education".
Illegal immigration is likely to be a top issue in November 6 USA congressional elections and Trump said migrants in the caravan were being used by his political opponents. President Trump warned this week that he will halt federal aid funding to the two nations if they do not act to stop the exodus.
Trump also informed that if necessary, he would deploy the U.S. military to its Southern border with Mexico to halt the migrants.
He has urged the Republicans to make immigration a central issue of important Congressional elections which take place in the USA next month.