MEXICO CITY – A caravan of roughly 500 Central American migrants was intercepted on Wednesday a few hours after entering Mexico bound for the United States.
The group crossed the bridge linking Guatemala to Mexico early Wednesday, media outlets reported.
The migrants were trying to reach Tapachula, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) inside Mexico, but they made it only as far as the town of Metapa, 20km from the border, before being intercepted by around 200 immigration agents and members of the National Guard.
Authorities then loaded the migrants aboard buses for the journey to the Tapachula facilities of the National Migration Institute (Inami) for processing.
Separately, Inami said that it repatriated 110 undocumented Honduran nationals on Wednesday.
The migrants, most of them families with children, were flown from Villahermosa, capital of the Mexican state of Tabasco, to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Inami said in a statement.
Since last October, thousands of Central American migrants have set out across Mexico in caravans with hopes of reaching the US to apply for asylum.
The migrants, most of them residents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, say they are fleeing high levels of violence in their homelands.
US President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to build a wall on the Mexican border to halt illegal immigration, has railed repeatedly about the caravans, demanding that Mexico put a halt to the mass migration.
Last Thursday, Trump said his administration would impose escalating tariffs on Mexico unless that country took aggressive steps to stop the flow of illegal migrants from Central America.
He said in a Twitter post that he would impose a 5 percent tariff starting June 10 on all Mexican imports unless the neighboring country halted the northward flow of US-bound migrants.
Trump said the US would raise the tariffs on Mexican goods each month until the rate hit 25 percent in October unless President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration took action to stop the flow of migrants, the majority of them from Central America, to the United States.
The Mexicans have adopted a number of measures aimed at placating Trump, including acceding last December to Washington’s request to harbor migrants in Mexico while they await decisions on their applications for asylum in the US.