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Mexico offers plan to keep U.S.-bound migrants in Mexico
Mexico on Friday (October 26) offered temporary identification papers and jobs to migrants who register for asylum in the country, stepping up efforts to halt the advance of a U.S.-bound Central American caravan that has angered Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border and cut aid to Central America to try to stop the caravan of several thousand people. U.S. officials have said that up to 1,000 troops may be sent to the U.S. southern border to prevent the migrants from crossing. Making reference to the caravan, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a pre-recorded address that migrants wishing to obtain temporary identification documents, jobs or education for their children could do so by registering for asylum in southern Mexico. To qualify for the scheme he called "Estas en Tu Casa" ('Make Yourself at Home') migrants had to be in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, Pena Nieto said. Temporary work in the states would be extended so as also to benefit Mexicans, said Pena Nieto, who leaves office on November 30. Mexican officials have said those migrants who do not qualify for refugee status are liable to be deported. Mexico's government has said that more than 1,700 people in the convoy have registered for asylum, while others have returned home. Estimates on the size of the group vary. Alden Rivera, the Honduran ambassador to Mexico, told Mexican radio on Friday that the caravan could reach Mexico City by next Friday. He put an "official" headcount at 3,500, estimating that at least two-thirds of them were Hondurans. The caravan set off in Honduras nearly two weeks ago and has picked up other Central Americans en route.