TECUN UMAN, Guatemala – Athat once totaled more than 3,000 Central American migrants looked to be about a third that size Saturday morning, when its remaining members woke up on a bridge that divides the borders of Guatemala and Mexico and waited to get past a crossing guarded by hundreds of Mexican federal police.
Hundreds of migrants have already crossed, some legally, some not. It’s unclear whether any have simply turned back.
Members of the migrant caravan burst through a Guatemalan border fence on Friday and rushed onto the bridge over the Suchiate River. Men and women, some with young children and babies drenched in sweat, began storming and climbing the barrier — tearing it down. They defied Mexican authorities’ entreaties for an orderly crossing and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of retaliation.
But they were met Friday by a wall of police with riot shields on the Mexican side of the bridge. About 50 managed to push their way through before officers unleashed pepper spray and the rest retreated, joining the sea of humanity on the bridge.
Police and immigration agents began letting small groups of 10, 20 or 30 people through the gates if they wanted to apply for refugee status. Once they file a claim, they can go to a shelter to spend the night.