145 Central American migrants from 'caravan' have entered US: official

Central American migrants who traveled through Mexico in a caravan sleep outside a border in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 30, 2018 (AFP Photo/GUILLERMO ARIAS) (AFP/File)

Mexico City (AFP) - A total of 145 Central American migrants who traveled as part of a "caravan" from their home countries through Mexico have so far entered the United States to seek asylum, officials said Thursday.

The migrants were part of a group of around 1,000 people who set out from Mexico's southern border on March 25, before reaching the northern border town of Tijuana on Sunday.

"There were 70 people who crossed this morning," bringing the total up to Thursday to 145, said Mexican immigration official Edgar Antonio Gonzalez Rubio Nunez.

The figure included people from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, he added.

The caravan is a tradition dating back to 2010 and is designed to draw attention to the plight of destitute Central Americans crossing through Mexico in a bid to reach the US and the promise of a better life.

Media coverage of the US-bound caravan triggered a flurry of furious tweets from US President Donald Trump, who ordered thousands of National Guard troops to the border and called on Mexico to stop the migrants.

Mexico rejected the pressure from Trump. Instead, it gave the migrants a one-month transit pass to decide if they want to seek refuge in Mexico, go back home or keep trudging toward the United States.

Some 150 more remain at a camp in Tijuana, many of whom said they were fleeing gang violence.

"I am fleeing because they were going to kill one of my sons," Ana Suazo, a 38-year-old Honduran who was traveling with three children, told AFP. She added her mother was waiting for her on the other side of the border and she has relatives in New Orleans.