— srb news (@srbnews0) October 29, 2018
Several hundred migrants tried to cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala to Mexico en masse on Monday, but were met by ranks of Mexican federal police who blocked them from entering.
The standoff on the riverbank follow a more violent confrontation that occurred on the nearby bridge over the river the night before, when migrants tossed rocks and used sticks against Mexico police. One migrant was killed Sunday night by a head wound, but the cause was unclear.
While migrants on the bridge had appeared to be preparing for a second day of confrontations early Monday, instead they tried the route taken by the first caravan 10 days ago after it, too, was blocked: turn to the river below.
The first, larger caravan made it across the river by wading or on rafts, and now is advancing through southern Mexico.
But since that crossing, the Mexican Navy has begun patrolling the Suchiate River and Mexican police have taken up positions on the riverbank, insisting migrants register before entering and show travel documents that many do not have.
The Defense Department says it’s sending 5,200 active duty troops to “harden” the southern border against a migrant caravan making its way through Mexico.
Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy tells reporters that 800 soldiers were en route on Monday and that the remainder of the troops would be at the southwest border by the end of the week.
That’s in addition to the more than 2,000 members of the National Guard already providing assistance at the border now. Officials say the troops will provide “mission enhancing capabilities” and will be armed.
The announcement comes as President Donald Trump has been trying to focus on the caravan just a week before the midterm elections.
The migrant caravan has been moving slowly north from Central America and its numbers have been dwindling.