A small army of humanitarian workers helps migrants on the treacherous road to the United States

As a caravan of Central American migrants creeps north through Mexico, dwindling in size as the weary and discouraged drop out, a small army of humanitarian workers is offering help along the way.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is giving the migrants water, phones to call their families and medical care for their battered feet. Churches and recreation centers have opened their doors for them to sleep.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is helping migrants fill out asylum applications. Governors of Mexican states are issuing messages to welcome them. On the U.S. side of the border, some shelters are overflowing already and have started looking for ways to expand the number of available cots.

More than 1,000 miles ahead of them lies the United States, which the Trump administration insists they will not reach. The Pentagon is expected to dispatch 800 to 1,000 troops to support Border Patrol agents responsible for keeping the migrants from crossing the border.

Most of migrants have some idea what lies ahead, having heard reports of President’s Trump’s tweets asserting the caravan will not be allowed to cross.

“But they’re not coming because they think it will be easy,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International, speaking on the phone after touring a migrant youth detention center in Texas. “They’re coming because the alternative is unbearable. They’re fearful of what they might end up facing here, but they’re anticipating it has to be better than where they’re coming from.”

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Text by Carol Morello, The Washington Post

Photo: Guillermo Arias AFP