ARRIAGA, Mexico — More than 100 Mexican federal officers carrying plastic shields abandoned a blockade they had formed on a bridge Saturday, allowing a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants to advance toward the United States.

The officers ended the standoff after representatives from Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission told police that a rural stretch of highway without shade, toilets or water was no place for migrants to entertain a government offer of asylum in Mexico, which is why police said they set up the blockade.

Police boarded buses and headed farther down the highway, while migrants cheered and vowed to trek all the way to the U.S. border despite fierce opposition from President Trump.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto launched a program Friday dubbed “You are home,” which promises shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans who agree to stay in the southern Mexico states of Chiapas or Oaxaca.

Police commissioner Benjamin Grajeda said that authorities only blocked the highway Saturday to tell people about the offer. “Here in this truck right now you can get help,” he said.

Thousands of Central American migrants fill the highway as they walk outside Arriaga, Mexico, Saturday.

Thousands of migrants in the city of Arriaga rejected the plan Friday night, but said they could be willing to discuss it again once they reach Mexico City. Some fear they will be deported if they take advantage of the program.

The caravan is now trying to strike out for Tapanatepec, about 29 miles up the road. Many members have been traveling for more than two weeks.

Orbelina Orellana, a migrant from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, said she and her husband left three children behind and had decided to continue north one way or another.

“Our destiny is to get to the border,” she said.

She was suspicious of the government’s proposal and said that some Hondurans who had applied for legal status had already been sent back. Her claims could not be verified, but migrants’ representatives in the talks asked the Mexican government to provide a list of those who had been forced to return.

Mexican officials appear to be taking a discordant approach to the group by greeting travelers with a mixture of hospitality and hostility.

Mexico’s Interior Ministry said that temporary identity numbers have been issued to 111 migrants under the “You are home” program. The IDs, called CURPs, authorize the migrants to stay and work in Mexico, and the ministry said pregnant women, children and the elderly were among those who had joined the program and were now being attended at shelters.

Several mayors have rolled out the welcome mat for migrants who reached their towns – arranging for food and camp sites.

Children travel on a cattle truck, as a thousands-strong caravan of Central American migrants slowly makes its way toward the U.S. border, between Pijijiapan and Arriaga, Mexico, on Friday. Associated Press/Rodrigo Abd

On Saturday, government officials were helping migrants move along the route. Martin Rojas, an agent from Mexico’s migrant protection agency Grupo Beta, said officials have begun handing out water and giving rides to stragglers in the agency’s pickup trucks.

“There are people fainting, there are wounded,” said Rojas, after dropping off a group of women and children in Tapantapec, where the caravan planned to spend the night in the town square. Rojas transported the group to their destination after spotting them on a highway trudging through temperatures approaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

At other times, police have ejected migrant passengers off buses by enforcing an obscure road insurance regulation. Some officials appear to want to shrink the caravan by keeping smaller groups of migrants from joining, while hoping that their grueling journey will make Mexico’s offer of refuge more attractive.

An official with the national immigration authority said Friday that 300 Hondurans and Guatemalans who crossed the Mexico border illegally had been detained. The group was walking in broad daylight, but far from the main caravan.

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