by Will Racke
Hundreds of migrants traveling in a caravan broke open a border fence and poured into Mexico on Friday afternoon, just hours after the Mexican government said it would begin granting humanitarian visas to those who qualify for asylum.
The migrants are part of a group of more than 3,000 people who have been traveling north through Honduras and Guatemala since last week, with the aim of passing through Mexico to get to the U.S.
Video footage posted by Telemundo News shows hundreds of the migrants massed behind a chain-link fence at the Mexico-Guatemala border. Some of the men scale the fence while others violently shake it, causing the barrier to break apart.
As the gap in the fence widens, the migrants — mostly young, single men — rush into Mexican territory while overwhelmed border officials stand aside.
Migrantes rompen cerca en la frontera y entran corriendo a México pic.twitter.com/smJhZMZAyu
— Noticias Telemundo (@TelemundoNews) October 19, 2018
The breach followed the Mexican government’s announcement that it will grant humanitarian visas to caravan migrants with legitimate asylum claims. Under the plan, immigration authorities will grant up to 100 visas per day in an effort to break the caravan into smaller groups. Migrants who are granted asylum visas will be free to go anywhere in Mexico they choose, including the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexico has said it will detain and deport any of the caravan migrants who enter the country in “an irregular manner.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has called on Mexican authorities to stop the migrants from reaching the southwest border, echoing demands he made during a similar caravan in April. Trump threatened Thursday to use the U.S. military to “close” the border if the caravan is allowed to continue north through Mexico.
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