Guatemalan security forces keep watch at the Agua Caliente border with Honduras as part of Guatemala's measures to prevent Honduran migrants from crossing its territory toward the Mexican border, in Agua Caliente, Guatemala, Oct. 23, 2018.
Guatemalan security forces keep watch at the Agua Caliente border with Honduras as part of Guatemala's measures to prevent Honduran migrants from crossing its territory toward the Mexican border, in Agua Caliente, Guatemala, Oct. 23, 2018.

A caravan of Central American migrants was set to resume its arduous journey to the U.S. Wednesday after pausing Tuesday to mourn a fellow traveler who was killed in a road accident and to tend to various travel-related ailments many have developed.

Central American migrants, part of a second wave o
Central American migrants, part of a second wave of migrants heading to the U.S., hitchhike on a truck as they continue their journey to the Mexican border, in Chiquimula, Guatemala, Oct. 23, 2018.

Such caravans have been routine over the years without much attention, but U.S. President Donald Trump has used the caravan to rally his Republican base before the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Trump tweeted Wednesday his administration "will never accept people coming into our Country illegally."

Trump fueled the controversy in a series of tweets Monday, saying without evidence that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners" were among the caravan of Central American migrants bound for the U.S.

Estephanie, a one year old migrant girl from Hondu
Estephanie, a one year old migrant girl from Honduras, is held by her mother while resting amid thousands from Central America en route to the United States, in Huixtla, Mexico, Oct. 23, 2018.

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway defended those statements Wednesday, telling reporters outside the White House they don't know "what information he has," without offering proof of the accuracy of the remarks.

"I can promise you he knows more than you do and than I do on any given day about this information," Conway said.

Trump has blasted Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala for not stopping their citizens from departing for the U.S. He said Monday he would begin cutting off or reducing foreign aid to those countries and threatened last week to use military troops to close the U.S. southern border.

Central American migrants, part of a caravan tryin
Central American migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., enter the Mexican border and customs facility in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 23, 2018.

The caravan of more than 7,000 of mostly Hondurans who are fleeing violence and poverty in their home country, was in the southern Mexican town of Huixtla, about 50 kilometers north of the Guatemalan border and more than 1,000 miles from the closest U.S. border.

Many in the caravan may not qualify for asylum even if they reach the border.

A Central American migrant, part of a caravan tryi
A Central American migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., waits on the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala to cross into Mexico to continue his trip, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 22, 2018.

The U.S. does not consider escapes from poverty and violence as qualifying factors.

International law requires that individuals fleeing violence and persecution must be allowed access to the country where they are seeking asylum and the right to apply for it.

Staff from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees arrived earlier this week in the Mexican town of Tapachulas, which is near the Guatemalan border, to help stabilize the migrant caravan's chaotic situation and to register asylum seekers.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told VOA staffers are also safeguarding migrants' rights.

"All countries have a right to be able to manage their own immigration and manage their own borders," Edwards said. "What is important for us is that those borders are managed in an asylum-sensitive way, which means giving people access, assessing their claims and then dealing with them accordingly in line with international law."

Trump has vowed to prevent the caravan of migrants from entering the U.S., but beyond threats to cut or reduce foreign aid, administration officials have not indicated how the U.S. will respond to what he has called a "national emergency."

Faces in the Crowd: The Honduran Caravan photo gallery

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