Sonia Perez D. and Maria Verza, Associated Press, January 20, 2020
Some 3,000 Central American migrants made another attempt to walk across the border bridge into Mexico, in a new test of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Central America” strategy to keep them away from the U.S. border.
The migrants sat down halfway across the span early Monday when they found gates closed on the Mexican side. Mexico also stepped up its police presence, with hundreds of National Guard troops deployed to the bridge and the banks of shallow Suchiate River that divides the country from Guatemala.
The migrants demanded they be allowed to move freely through Mexico to reach the United States, something Mexican officials have refused. Migrants said if they aren’t allowed over the bridge, they will try to wade the river, a potential danger given the hundreds of children traveling with the group.
Monday’s standoff was a contrast to Saturday, when Mexican troops scuffled with some migrants and slammed the gate shut as hundreds of others pressed forward in an effort to start new lives in the United States.
Mexico has stepped up efforts to prevent migrants from reaching their desired final destination — the U.S. — under threat of trade and other sanctions from President Donald Trump.
The Mexican government declared its efforts over the weekend a success, saying late Sunday that the migrants’ attempts to enter the country in a “disorderly fashion” were “fruitless.”
[Editor’s Note: Here is video of some of the clashes.]