As the group of some 4,000 people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras heads toward the USA border with Mexico to seek asylum, Trump has called for stricter border enforcement, threatening to cut foreign aid to the three countries and possibly rip up trade deals.
In a series of tweets, Trump said that if Mexico is incapable of stopping the immigrants, he will "call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!"
He instead deployed the National Guard to the border.
In part, the response is meant to both dissuade the migrants from even attempting to enter Mexico and potentially to show the Trump administration that Mexico is willing to, as the government put it, "maintain order".
At least five US states later refused to send the troops amid an outcry over a policy to separate migrant children from their parents, since discontinued. Some climbed atop the gate and the US -donated jeeps as they clamoured to be allowed to pass.
This year's group began traveling from Honduras on October 13 and has swollen to 4,000.
In a speech Thursday night, Trump accused the Democrats of paving the way for the caravan with their sanctuary city policies.
Locals said they had been warned by Mexican authorities not to carry people.
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Foreign Minister Videgaray said his government had asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help process the migrants in order to guarantee transparency and so that Mexico could cope with a "higher volume of requests".
Mexican officials said on Wednesday that those without papers would have to apply for refugee status or turn back.
Central American migrants hiked from Honduras through muddy jungle and residential streets, some toting babies along with backpacks, Reuters images show.
In other posts, Trump claimed that many in the caravan are criminals.
That complicates efforts to deport Central Americans who travel through Mexico in the United States because American officials must arrange to fly apprehended illegal immigrants to their home countries. And they're getting close to the Guatemala-Mexico border. Obrador is scheduled to take office on December 1, 2018.
Military leaders have repeatedly found themselves entangled in the broader immigration debate in recent months.
And, much like Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico is itself a country of many migrants, raising the question of whether the political will exists for a confrontation.
"It is a plan that we have, that anyone who wants to work in Mexico will have a work visa", he said.
Trump has long touted a need for increased border security, warning criminals and drugs were regularly pouring across the southern border.