Many say they are fleeing gang violence in their home countries; Honduras, for instance, has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Members of the caravan ran through a village late Saturday night looking for the child. Something similar led to a panic at an earlier stop, but was not confirmed. Some of the illegal immigrants have relied on hitchhiking to travel between towns instead of walking the entire way. Others soaked themselves in the nearby Novillero river.
A coordinator of the caravan said they would strike out again before dawn for Tapanatepec, about 29 miles (46 kilometers) away across the Oaxaca state line.
Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security has asked for the Department of Defense to help "bolster our capabilities" on the border in an effort to avoid a chaotic incident like when migrants were met at the Guatemalan-Mexican border by Mexican police in riot gear.
At the caravan's regular evening meeting in the town square, its coordinators tried to force a little chivalry.
But on Friday, a resilient crowd in Arriaga said "thank you" before adding that they were still going to head "north" for the border. Women carrying children or pushing strollers are at a disadvantage.
A local nun scolded the men for their actions.
"What we do know is that terrorists have highlighted for many years the loopholes in our border security", she said.
"To me it's bad because there has to be equality because we are all struggling on this path", said Hector Alvarado.
"Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the US", he said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details that have not yet been publicly announced, said the troops will not be involved in detaining migrants.
The wall celebrated Friday replaces shorter, older fencing installed in the 1990s that was now out of date and operationally inadequate, Nielsen said. They will not be allowed to stay.
The Department of Homeland Security earlier reported that a large migrant caravan is on its way towards the USA, crossing through Mexico.
As for potential terrorists, Nielsen said U.S. Border Patrol officers every year apprehend about 3,000 "special interest aliens" - people from countries associated with or compromised by terrorism. Many members have been travelling for more than two weeks.
Not long after the caravan resumed its advance Saturday, government officials lent them a hand.
From there, organizers say, they'll travel on to Mexico City, where the group hopes to push for the Mexican government to change immigration laws.
"This group is made up of entire families, as well as elderly people, pregnant women, children, adolescents and disabled", the ministry said.
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