Migrant caravan to U.S. faced Mexican riot police and pepper spray

Men attempt to grab a tear gas canister thrown by the Mexican Federal Police, after Central American migrants rushed the gate at the border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.

AP

A sea of migrants surged one step closer to the U.S. on Friday. Thousands of Central Americans moving north refused to be denied by a fence, where Guatemala meets Mexico.

Men and women, some with young children and babies drenched in sweat, began storming and climbing the barrier — tearing it down. A mass of migrants then crammed onto the thin border bridge, chanting "yes we can," only to be blocked by another gate on the Mexican side, where riot police deployed pepper spray.

Spanish language TV Telemundo showed migrants panicking, jumping from the bridge to try to swim to Mexico instead. They risked drowning over defeat. When asked why he wants to jump, one 16-year-old said, "there are no jobs here."

This is the latest and one of the largest caravans to make the journey. The last one reached the U.S. border in the spring. President Trump has threatened to close the Southern U.S. border, and Mexico deployed 500 federal police to divert a crisis. But Mexico says it will allow the few with proper paperwork in, while others can apply as refugees.

"We are quickly reaching a point which appears to be a moment of crisis," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who addressed the issue in Mexico City. "We have to fix U.S. laws in order to handle this properly. This is an American burden and a uniquely American burden."

Back on the bridge, police eventually regained order, but the migrants' mission north continues.